This morning I found on my Facebook newsfeed a paid (sponsored) posting ridiculing County Council Candidate Lovel Pratt and showing her in a Nazi uniform. The ad and picture were from a Facebook page that comments on San Juan County politics. The page itself is anonymous – the author’s name does not appear. The posting was later removed by Facebook for violating its community standards on hate speech.
[Full disclosure: I strongly supported Lovel Pratt for County Council District 1. I won’t take time here repeating the heavy praise she’s gotten elsewhere. This posting isn’t about Lovel.]
I believe that the state doesn’t require campaign reporting by people who place campaign ads below a certain dollar threshold. But just because it is legal doesn’t mean it is right. Our community deserves better.
A person is making offensive attacks on our community members while hidden behind an anonymous “journalistic” web identity, gladly tarnishing the names of people with whom they disagree while hiding their own name. This happens in blogs, websites and social media. That anonymity is now used to hide the source of paid and offensive attacks ads against candidates during our local election.
That’s not how we are or want to be in the San Juans. We are neighbors. We come to each other’s aid – on fire calls, serving as mentors at school, providing medical evacuation flights, helping out at fundraisers, and volunteering hours for causes from hospice care to oil spill response preparedness. We do not promote hate speech, we are a community where we accept differences and still get along. We can discuss the issues. We can disagree. We cannot stoop to anonymous offensive paid attacks. Please join me in asking that all political dialogue be truthful, mature, open and civil.