Here’s a little story.
In the olden days, the only way for people to somewhat get to know a candidate was to listen to what the candidate had to say through the media or attend debates to get general idea of what the person was like. This, however, gave a limited view of the candidate’s persona. All one had to do to fool the masses was stay on their best behaviour, shake hands, be polite and give the performance of a lifetime.
Today, things are different. With social media, a candidate can easily be put under public scrutiny. Ever aspect of their life is on display, for the world to see and mistakes of the past trail behind for all to evaluate and judge. There is true power in knowledge.
Last Tuesday, people in Massena, went to the polls. Some days before the elections, one of the candidates running for office posted a racially charged and divisive comment on his private facebook page. An American Citizen who owns property in NY State, but now lives in Canada shared the post on a facebook page he owns from back in the day, when he used to live in Massena. The candidate’s comment was very much relevant to the municipal elections and the citizen felt the residents of Massena had the right to see what kind of statements their beloved town supervisor was sharing.
Very quickly, the post was deleted and instead of apologizing to his constituents for his offensive comments, the town supervisor made a really big deal about it. He went into full defense and attack mode, trying to salvage his image, dragging the good name of the American citizen, also a veteran, in the dirt. He cried “outside interference” and dismissed the citizen’s concerns as a “political effort on his part to kind of discredit” him. He spoke to the newspapers, even called for a news conference to address the issue, minimizing the value of the citizen’s input because he “now lives in Canada”.
The Concerned citizen would not have it. He would not allow lies to be spread about him and the town supervisor to play victim for political gain so he responded to the accusations in a video that went viral for the area. It was a direct address, a manifesto that 3000 local people viewed in less than 24 hours. Do you think it made a difference to the results of the elections, which the town supervisor lost? One can only speculate, but in a town where only a little over 2000 votes came in, I can imagine it did, even if only a little.
So yes, keyboard warriors DO make a difference. They may not always be out and about at conventions, rallies or door to door, but they DO reach people, perhaps even more than we can imagine. As citizens, when we see things that are questionable coming from our representatives, we have a duty to let others know. When you stay quiet, you end up with a buffoon like Trump at the helm.
So go on! Type on! Spread your opinions! Good or bad, they contribute to offering others a different perspective of our world and perhaps even open some eyes. Stay open minded, admit when your are wrong and always stay respectful. Who knows, you may even learn from your exchanges in the process.