Courtesy on the internet

You're outBy Lynn R. Mitchell

The subject of courtesy on the internet has been an issue with me since I first began blogging in 2006. It was different in those days because nasty attacks came from Democrats — vile comments left on conservative blog posts and liberals writing over-the-top posts about Republican candidates.

Fast forward to today when there’s a civil war raging within the Republican Party especially in Virginia. It has given rise to a new crop of internet abusers spewing vitriolic sewage on Facebook and blogs. They have used Facebook to complain endlessly over lost contests and perceived injustices, making nasty personal comments about Republicans who are in public office, running for leadership positions, and those who support them.

Of particular note is one Facebook user who posted a graphic of a rhino with a public official’s name on the side and excrement shooting out its behind. He followed up on that by posting ugly messages on blog posts that had to do with long-time Republicans and all kinds of sex acts. The capper for me was when he publicly damned a Virginia Republican congressman. Enough.

Another frequent flyer on the Facebook’s Most Disgusting tour has made sure to hit everybody he can find who disagrees with his side by writing negative, sometimes on-the-edge-of-nasty comments about people who formerly signed his paycheck. Sour grapes is one thing … that kind of public display is disgusting and says a heck of a lot about the lack of character of the person posting it.

Yet another Facebook abuser has taken to pimping links to anti-incumbent blog posts. No original content, just cut-and-paste here and there and here and there. Not only is it lazy, it’s disingenuous to those who actually took the time to write a post only to have him pop in for two seconds to leave an anti-message link. I would give him an “F” for lack of creativity and just plain bad manners.

A few days ago I posted a link announcing “Burgers With Bill,” an upcoming event with former Lieutenant Governor Bill Bolling and his friend former Massachusetts Governor and U.S. Presidential candidate Mitt Romney. A number of positive comments began the thread but seventy comments later, the above suspects had hijacked the link, turned it into a bashing opportunity about Bolling, then moved on to the debacle in the 5th Congressional District along with slandering remarks about fellow Republicans. Warnings to keep it on-topic fell on deaf ears. Don’t bring your agenda to my Wall … use your own.

Being respectful and courteous on someone’s Facebook Wall is important. For me, it’s the same as if you were sitting on my front porch in one of my rocking chairs talking about the subject over a glass of iced tea. We can disagree in a civil way without being rude, crude, or obnoxious.

Then there’s the blog posts. The conservative blogosphere used to be a growing field of humor, snarkiness, and serious discussion. In the past few years it has broken down into accusations, rantings, and a base of attack. This goes beyond disagreement with public officials and fellow Republicans. Some are spreading unsubstantiated rumors and untruths. Striking back with politics is one thing but hitting a person’s livelihood is another. Probably one of the lowest attacks was when some spread the rumor that former Governor Bob McDonnell was going to resign, and others then called on him to do so. In this country, we are considered innocent until proven guilty since any Tom, Dick, and Harry can point a finger of blame at anyone at anytime, and call for an “investigation.”  Meanwhile, Democrats sit back and watch in glee as we tear ourselves apart.

As Bill Bolling has said, there’s a battle raging for the heart and soul of the Republican Party. As we can see, it’s playing out in front of us on blogs and Facebook and Twitter.

The bottom line is that while many long-time Republicans have been tolerant the past 5-6 years because we didn’t want to be seen as not welcoming of the newcomers to the party, enough is enough. While I don’t want to shut down discussion, what they are doing is not a discussion. Life’s too short to deal with that kind of ridiculousness. I’m cleaning house….

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3 thoughts on “Courtesy on the internet

  1. Farm Girl says:

    Good for you Lynn! An excellent post made at a very timely moment. The lies, statements that are posted as truth, vile and condemning comments about good people is only a small part of what is going on these days. What I find so interesting is the hyprocrisy of these very people spouting these lies under the umbrella of ‘unity’. It’s hurtful to read things about myself and others that are simply not true or certainly hyperpole at best. Keep up the good fight, I enjoy reading your take on all things Virginia.

  2. You’re 1000% right, Lynn. And the funny thing is, the same folks who rush to throw every bit of nastiness at some of us also tend to be the first ones screaming “stop name calling!” when we respond with any short of capitulation. It’s annoying.

    • Interesting how they do that, Brian. The vitriol is part of the intimidation tactics that they’ve learned. However, more are beginning to stand up to the bullying….

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