By Mike Weland, Publisher
Two traits that bring out an immediate and negative reaction when I see them are cowardice and duplicity. In nearly all cases, if you find those two character flaws in an individual, you will find plenty more bad traits but a dry and barren dearth of anything you could call positive.
And many with those two key traits of character have found another of their brief moments in history when they feel empowered and emboldened to act out in ways that wouldn’t be tolerated in most any other time.
It won’t last long, but it’s already getting ugly.
I didn’t include stupidity as a trait because that’s something most don’t have much choice in, though it seems that many in times such as this forego logic and critical thinking and take up the mantle of stupidity of their own volition.
What’s most maddening is how obviously misguided these duplicitous cowards are, yet they and those like them refuse to appreciate it.
As a small-town reporter with an online news outlet, I’ve had personal experiences as the target of three such people. The common threads are that each proclaims themselves to be an upstanding Christian and patriot, that I’m a target because I happen not to be a fan of our president and that I wouldn’t know any of them if I met them on the sidewalk because none have had the courage to engage in a rational discussion or even agree to disagree.
In their world, freedom to think except as they do is denied.
I did nothing to provoke them except writing my thoughts on my personal social media page, by responding to assertions in conversations on pages I follow or in the editorial section of my publication.
As a result, each suffered sufficient butthurt to engage in unfounded slander and/or libel and at least two have attempted to hurt my ability to earn a living and serve my community by “encouraging” advertisers that it would be in their best interest not to have their businesses associated with mine.
I came to Bonners Ferry from the Spokesman Review as a reporter in 1991 and have pursued the trade as a profession or hobby ever since, and those who know me know that I appreciate the absolute right of an advertiser to withdraw support based on my reporting or editorial stance. It’s their right and obligation to choose where they invest their hard earned money.
As a journalist, it is my right and obligation to present and stand up for truth as best I see it.
If I am wrong, I will willingly and to the best of my ability correct my error. What I will not do is alter or slant my news or viewpoint in the interest of anything but my best perception of truth, which can change presented honest and compelling evidence, and it’s a point of pride that of those advertisers who chose to pull their ads, most later said that their disappointment or anger was unfounded, that my articles proved true over time.
It pains me that our advertisers, who make it possible for us to provide local news free to readers worldwide, are being subject to these egregious and unwarranted threats, and if there is anything I can do to put an end to the harassment, don’t hesitate to let me know.
If these malcontents think I’ll change my point of view or stop expressing my thoughts because of their cowardly acts, they are woefully mistaken.
And how is it I can tell without question or qualm from whence these rude behaviors spring?
In each case, the name and/or image of Donald Trump was invoked, I was proclaimed un-American for dissing our president and the names used to described me were all superlative: I “hate” Trump, I am affiliated with each and every left-wing catchword they spew and hold in disdain, though it’s doubtful they could give a cogent definition of any one of them, and I am always portrayed as being two steps left of the lowest of the low, with no substantiation or even any other sin specified.
I know, a Democrat could have been trying to set me up so I’d think it was a MAGA-gangster, but based on experience with the blatant pattern of lies, obfuscation and misdirection practiced by our president and adopted by his minions, I know better. By their tactics, words and actions, you will know them.
I already hear the thoughts churning in hundreds of red-hatted heads … “fake news, never-Trumper, liberal socialist communist Dumbocrat,” etc. ad nauseum. It’s always the same mindless and mind-numbing catch phrases; no substance and less sense.
And how is it such people, who so loudly invoke their liberties, their freedoms, their constitutional rights, so flagrantly insist on denying me mine? And how can they push and push and push and then jump up and down in disbelief, crying foul and acting aghast when I reach my limit and push back?
Only bullies have the impaired self-esteem necessary to make such childish behavior thinkable.
Why, solely because I don’t agree with their assessment of our president and have the temerity to speak my mind, am I so roundly vilified and maltreated? Isn’t that what our precious first amendment is all about?
As a much younger man, I raised my right hand and pledged a solemn oath to “support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic,” and to do so at any cost, up to and including my life. I served honorably in the 82nd Airborne Division for four years and, like all the approximately one percent of Americans who choose to serve in their country’s military, I have never rescinded that oath.
Please note carefully that the oath is to the U.S. Constitution, not to those we elect to offices of public responsibility.
And why would these fine, upstanding gentlemen go to such lengths, possibly criminal, to deny me the same rights they clamor for?
If my words are wrong, why don’t they show me the errors of my ways with logic and reason? Why not point out the virtues of their candidate, build him up on the basis of substantiated fact and by pointing out his accomplishments in office so far? Why engage in thuggish behavior intended to scare people into submission? To intimidate others, to abase themselves?
Seems to me that such action weakens, not strengthens, their candidate.
The only explanation I can come up with is that it’s not Donald Trump these people are standing up for, it’s that they cannot conceive a nation in which all citizens are created equal. So greatly do they fear that one proposition, that all United States citizens are “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
All, not just them.
Those who so blindly follow Donald Trump can readily overlook all his obvious and egregious flaws if only he will tell them they’re special, if only a tiny bit more equal than others in the application of those unalienable rights and give them “others” to look down upon; brown hordes from Mexico, ANTIFA, BLM, Democrats … anyone will do as long as it’s not them.
They will relinquish their morals, their manners, their principles and the tenets of their religion to maintain that perceived but false sense of superiority.
If you question the premise, ask yourself this single question: Would Donald J. Trump have had the slightest chance of being nominated, let alone elected, had he followed any other president than Barack Obama?
Be honest with yourself … imagine any previous U.S. President, on the campaign trail, who could have survived even one “Trump Moment.”
Try to imagine the public reaction had any other president uttered on the campaign trail the immortal and uplifting words “And when you’re a star, they let you do it. You can do anything. … Grab ’em by the p—-. You can do anything.”
These are truly historic and interesting times which we’ve been given, and it’s going to get much more interestinger in the weeks and months ahead.
And before you say “so what?” please realize that in our “friendliest town in Idaho,” it’s not just me being targeted.
During the Boundary County Fair, the grand celebration of this county’s 100th held in spite of pandemic, a booth that’s been part of the fair since its beginning was vandalized, pictures of Donald J. Trump and MAGA 2020 plastered over the display paid for and set up by the Boundary County Democrats.
And again I hear the red-hatted one’s thoughts: “ANTIFA! BLM! They do it too! Go after them!”
Yes, they do it too, no doubt about it. But why is it that you so seldom see vandalism of the property of Trump supporters, especially invoking the names of his opponents?
And why do the number of right wing, white supremacist convicts far outnumber left wing criminals convicted of hate crimes in the nation’s prisons, especially hate crimes of violence? It ain’t because there’s more testing, that they’re targeted unfairly or that there’s a subversive liberal plot, either, no matter where you get the news you believe.
The sole reason is that right wing white supremacists are, at present, commiting far more hate crimes.
And small, cowardly people, such as the three alluded to here, people who think their perceived superiorities, prejudices and biases will be protected and preserved and who expect they’ll get a pat on the head from their golden boy for their good work, are feeling more emboldened by the day.
Those of you sitting on the fence may well think you have no worries that you’ll be targeted, that you’re safe because you say nothing. I sincerely pray you are right, but at this point, I fear it’s but wishful thinking.
We are, all of us, in a more vulnerable position than we appreciate, and it’s getting ever more precarious.