Letter: Political climate nurtured by media interests, advent of social media

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To the editor,

I was surprised and impressed by the insightful Citizen News July 5 “Our Opinion” column entitled “Objective history allows us to learn from the past.” It is well documented that history is written by the victors and that members of the privileged class tend to view history through such rose-colored glasses, as the article acknowledges. Hence, it was surprising this column devoted a full eight paragraphs to Sally Hemmings, a slave for worked for and had relations with America’s third president, Thomas Jefferson.

The article rightly applauded the curators at Monticello (Jefferson’s homestead) for their new exhibit telling this woman’s unique story.

Unfortunately, the column in the following issue (July 12 “Outrage the intellectual accessory de rigueur”) about the Red Hen restaurant in Virginia reverted right back to the typical political partisanship for which the paper is well known. The column included one whole paragraph before the “liberal” trump card was used. “The left” showed up a mere two short paragraphs down. And, in typical fashion, Huckabee Sanders is “applauded” at the end of the article for leaving the restaurant without making a scene.

The irony here is that the column ostensibly purports to demonize “outrage” in political conversation, yet the article does exactly that — it demonizes the Red Hen restaurant owner for her conscientious decision to not serve Sarah Huckabee Sanders and her entourage.

The column laughably blames the restaurant owner for wanting to “squash, hide, and obliterate” the opposing view, even though Huckabee Sanders is a spokesperson at the microphone broadcasting her partisan views on a near daily basis. Most of us would agree the job of a presidential spokesperson is to support their boss’s agenda. In this case, that involves spinning the truth constantly, and often outright lying, which is not surprising because those are key elements of her boss’ “style.”

It’s true that human nature aims to reduce pain or injury when inflicted. And it’s reasonable, as the article concludes, that we shouldn’t “force” others to our point of view, however, that might be accomplished. However, Huckabee Sanders — the offending object — did indeed “take up residence” in the restaurant owner’s living space. And the restaurant owner was evidently within her rights to ask Sarah to leave. The owner did not, however, exhibit any outrage whatsoever while doing so.

Yes, sadly in 2018 it is hard to discuss, let alone debate, political issues with those who hold opposing views. I strongly believe this political climate — often the foundation of such strong views — has been nurtured by powerful media interests, who benefit handsomely from such discord, and the advent of social media, where everyone is an expert on every subject. The total cost of congressional elections alone, according to opensecrets.org, has nearly doubled in the past 12 years to nearly $5,000,000,000. A good chunk of that money goes directly to media companies in the form of negative political advertising. No wonder they always say that such negative advertising “works,” regardless of the discord and its effect on society.

Lance Kazzi

Beacon Falls