I’m writing this letter in hope that we can bring a little civility back to our local politics. While legitimate local news sources have been downsized, local blogs have rushed in to fill the void. In some cases, this is a positive trend, but, in most cases, it has simply provided an opportunity for malicious, hateful speech to masquerade as news and commentary.
I won’t name the blogs because that is exactly what they want, but I’m sure some of you have seen them, even if you turned away after your first glance. On these blogs, some of which are run by people directly connected to elected officials, people sign on behind the shield of a screen name and write whatever they want, without having to worry about anyone challenging them personally. The most ironic part is, they are usually bashing either columnists or public figures that have the courage to put their names behind their beliefs.
This has become particularly annoying to me, as my friend, Tim Occhipinti, is running for Hoboken City Council, and every time I read about him, it is followed by coordinated, anonymous cheap shots from a bunch of hecklers who don’t have the backbone to sign their names.
I have a personal rule in my life; if I don’t want to stand behind what I say, I keep my mouth shut. Tim lives the same way. He is perfectly willing and available to discuss any issue any resident may want to address. He is not hard to find, and I’ve seen him in action.
So, westy, lincolnlogger, hullabaloo, khoboken, and others, what are your real names? You have no problem using Tim’s name, but you don’t want to take the risk of signing yours. Khoboken, it is hard to imagine how someone as intelligent as you would not want credit for your brilliance. Hobokenreformer, how exactly can one “reform” anonymously?
I support free speech when it is threatened by governments, and when people fear for their safety and privacy. But that is not case here, at all. Where would we be if our Founding Fathers had signed the Declaration of Independence with screen names?
My challenge to these bloggers is simple: sign your name or shut your mouth…or keyboard. If you don’t want to sign your name, at least be respectful. Limit your anonymous comments to the issues, and stop with the name-calling, cynicism, and other nonsense. Sorry if that takes all the fun out of it for you, but anonymous blogging has grown out of control, and I find it disturbing that so many shameless, spineless people want to do it.