Some Thoughts on SA

I have watched for some time now the relentless back and forth on SA by commenters. As we have gotten closer to Election Day, the vitriol increases and the attacks intensify. While I most certainly agree with the old adage – “politics ain’t beanbag”, the tone has become quite disturbing.

Over the last couple of months, the tone of SA has morphed from a discussion of issues and the political races of the day, to flat out blood sport between competing camps in comments that are almost without fail done anonymously. Now while I respect anonymity and the right to have your comments be heard, it can be abused when posters publish comments that they most certainly would not want to be associated with their names.

The practical effect of all this is that the comment section, while immensely entertaining at times, has morphed into what one particularly insightful commenter called the wall of a bathroom stall where competing gangs exchange taunts and words they wouldn’t probably say to someone’s face. We have attacks on candidates’ families, vicious and sometimes borderline slanderous attacks on people running for office, and sometimes flat out lies about candidates.

Now some might say that candidates ask for this when they run for office and use that as justification for the attacks. Some might also say that candidates attack each other all the time, in some cases much worse than goes on in the blogs. But there is a big difference. No anonymity. Candidates that attack each other have to put their names on the mailers, radio ads, phone calls, etc. Even the attack on Russell Pearce which I found abhorrent, was not done anonymously. There is a big difference. At least the candidates know who’s throwing the punches and voters can make an informed decision with that knowledge. In contrast, the comment section of this blog has become increasingly angry and vicious with a no holds barred attitude in attacking candidates and its done with a litany of made up names.

Never forget that each and every candidate for public office is doing something noble that should have our respect and admiration – they are running for public office. It’s the very foundation of our democracy.

What distinguishes SA from most other conservative blogs in this state is that it allows a diversity of writers, ideas, and opinions to be posted. Most, if not all of the other conservative blogs in this state are the opinion of one or two people and that’s it. Many routinely censor and moderate comments and don’t allow comments that disagree with their particular world view. In fact, one blog even took SA for task for not adhering religiously to that particular blogger’s view of how things should be done. That blogger just doesn’t get it and never will get what SA is all about. At its very base, it is a place to post ideas and thoughts about issues and politics and share those with others – not a place to censor views and opinions.

With that said, however, that freedom is being abused by some and while I most certainly respect your right to say whatever you want, whenever you want, no matter how offensive or stupid it may be, it would help going forward to maybe show a little decency towards the candidates running for office and at minimum have the courage if you are going to make an attack to use your real name and if that is not an option, follow the adage of the commenter mentioned above and not turn the comment section of SA into the wall of a toilet stall.


Comments

  1. Excellent post TDS. Attacking (and unfortunately distorting) a candidate’s position is routine and expected. But the vitriol that has crept into politics in these last few elections is saddening.

    Lets try and rise above and focus on what we would do better.

  2. “Most, if not all of the other conservative blogs in this state are the opinion of one or two people and that’s it. Many routinely censor and moderate comments and don’t allow comments that disagree with their particular world view… At its very base, it is a place to post ideas and thoughts about issues and politics and share those with others – not a place to censor views and opinions.”

    Last week, DSW told bloggers that he did not agree with “I know your IP Address, and know who you are”. How can you ask someoe to voice their opinion freely, when, and if they don’t agree, they are chastized? So, while I think this is an excellent post, I think that everyone at SA should be cognizant of this and not threaten other bloggers. Was there threatens of censorship of views and opinions? yes.

    With that said, many were vitriolic and upset with a certain consultant. In fact many posts (and persons posting blogs) were relating to taking him and his company out of business and that everyone was encouraged toward an ‘no holds barred’ bashing of that consultant. For this reason, I feel that many are afraid to post under their real name, for fear that they will get treated the same. At least he didn’t cower and hide behind a ficticious name, he was open about it. But can others really stomach the kind of vitriolic bashing that can just as easily be pointed at them? Has this whole blogosphere become more vicious toward one another? I wold say so.

    Again, I commend you on your post, and my hope is that SA will change its mindset and achieve the thoughts and way of blogging that you set forward. (I think that it would need to start with DSW) and the rest of those blogging on SA. Perhaps an honor code of conduct that we can all follow should come in as the next steps.

  3. Richard Wayne says

    When I read the posting on the other blog, the complaint was about the way the Pearce family and the Seel family was being treated by COMMENTERS on this blog, including some who are now applauding the removal of the one on the Bouies. Now that the Bouie has inserted itself into the political fray, you want to protect the families. The Pearce and Seel families never inserted themselves into the fight, yet you allowed them to be personally attacked.

    What happened and why are those other rotten posts still up and under “consideration” for being deleted while the current one was dropped immediately? Sounds like the kind of standard used by the liberal press.

  4. I'm In Trouble Now says

    I don’t think the vitriol is any different than in the past, it’s just that a handful more people are seeing it. Go to some city council meetings and see what some angry citizens have to say about their elected officials. Not just during the election, every week! So if you can’t thicken your skin in the campaign, you’ll suffer greatly if elected.

    A thought: when there’s a whole series of posts about Local Candidate A, and no response whatsoever from anyone claiming to be from the campaign, it just leaves people guessing which of the posters that do represent supporting that candidate, or is in fact that candidate or a spouse using a pseudonym. That’s how a lot of trouble can get started. That’s also why JD Hayworth can put things to rest real quick, because we’ve seen him use his real name. And if he has time to do it, so do candidates in our little local races.

    I would hope that SA does not create a solution that is worse than the problem. And we should have discussion about whether someone’s spouse is “fair game” because everyone draws that line in a different place. But young children, parents, ancestors?

  5. As the originator of the bathroom wall comment, I will reply.

    The vitriol is different and much more pronounced. It also has far reaching possibilities that may, or may not, be considered by the posters who get caught up in the emotion and freedom they feel from the privacy of their computer and anonymity of a clever moniker. That is not a dig at anonymity. I do not post under my full name. There are some who know who I am and really, so what? The point is this, as Ann the words I write on this or any site, belong to me and have no impact beyond that. I can say what I feel without worry that my name attaches ownership of my thoughts to another person or office. Ann says what Ann thinks and it is not to be construed as belonging to anyone but me. If I were to use my full name, that would not be the case. It would carry over to other people and causes. My thoughts would also carry the connotation of my attachments and not taken solely on their own merits. I feel no shame or need to hide my identity or my thoughts; it merely allows a more true perception.

    Our words carry weight beyond the letters on the page. They are a reflection of our party and our purpose, but more than that…who we are as people. Our party certainly deserves better. We all do. But what are we saying we expect from public service if this is the accepted norm? Your world will be turned upside down and wrong side out; it will be broadcast in capital letters with horrid comments by nameless, faceless others to boot. By the time you know about it, it will be too late to do anything but appear weak and whiney.

    I have taken my shares of jabs and given them, too. I have been angered and made others angry. I hope I have never brought another’s life to a point of such condemnation that they would actually be in fear for their future. That is what has been happening. No one should have that ability without showing their face and proving their point to be true. Complicity is no less wrong. There are other sites that will continue to post trash and call it treasure. The comments sections tell a lot about their readers. Same thoughts, same names, same tune…a handful of readers boosting each other with shallow thought and rancid rhetoric.

    SA is to be commended for stopping the fulminating furor.

  6. Annie Hoyle says

    Thank you, SA for reminding us of common decency! Well said! Ann, I really like your comments as well. I have been outraged reading postings lately about my brother, who is a candidate in CD5. It is really hard not to lash out immaturely! I have been reduced to comments that my mother wouldn’t be so proud of (on other blogs as well). Anonymity, I have found, is not such a good thing for this reader.

    Annie Hoyle (aka Mrs. Lady – said with a British accent as on the children’s show “Boo Bah” – can’t help it, I have 5 young kids!)

  7. Annie Hoyle says

    Oh, but I did like the comment that “Eddie Munster called, he wants his hair back”! Now THAT was funny, unecessary, but funny!

  8. Jeff Richards says

    #3.
    “The Pearce and Seel families never inserted themselves into the fight, yet you allowed them to be personally attacked.”

    Yes, timing is not your friend here.

    What’s fair for one candidate is fair for the other. However, more important than what candidates or bloggers say about each other is this problem. Real live ballots have been submitted under the false premise that Bouie was a Republican half of his voting life. That is a travesty.

  9. Jeff, Richard,

    As the author of this post, I can assure you it’s not about the District 6 race or any of the candidates. Yet you persist. Does every comment on SA from you guys have to be about Bouie? Is the desire to get the last word in really that strong that you can’t stop?

  10. Like It Is says

    Ann’s mea culpa seems almost sincere. So I have to ask her, when she says that Clean Elections investigations are coming for a number of candidates, is she advancing the notion that they are breaking the law as a baseless attack, an informed opinion, or does she believe that accusing folks of criminality advances civil discourse? If its an informed opinion, then where are the complaints upon which the investigations would be based? Clean Elections hasn’t seen them, so if Ann has, that would be interesting. If Ann hasn’t, then her words here seem more than a bit empty.

  11. Big Sister says

    I’m having a hard time responding since I am not sure what you are asking or specifically referencing. I have doubts about the sincerity of your request, and actually see it as more of an affront but will offer a response in hopes I am wrong. I will do my best to make my position clear so as to prevent any tangential topic.

    When the mailers and robo-calls (of various purpose) started to make the rounds, in more than one district, with clean and traditional candidates names appearing and endorsements coming out, there were questions of IE rules and violations circulating. To go into the details would be rhetorical and inciting. I do not believe that was your interest. It certainly isn’t mine.

    People with no horse in the race were angered and upset by the tactics of several folks and the vested interest in party reputation stimulated concern. I am aware of present and past candidates, campaign managers, and folks with years of election experience who believe there are definitely CE violations. Obviously, the entire story may not be known on some of them. But there is enough suspicion and unfortunately extreme anger among candidates and supporters that to get thru this cycle with no complaints will be a surprise.

    The circular verse of your post really leaves me wondering if it would have been better left alone. I hope you read my response as one who is really looking for an answer and not just an opportunity to open the door to further purposeless conflict for the sake of nothing good.

  12. I'm In Trouble Now says

    Clean Elections Commission performs many investigations. But it’s over finance issues, not exaggerations, lies, silly pictures, dopey emails, alleged racism…who is really in charge here? You are. The voter. Don’t vote early unless you know what you’re doing.

  13. TDS, I’m wondering about your thoughts on brother Bill’s post above yours? Understood you don’t control the content, but is that more like what you had in mind?

  14. When I re-read my post it was a bit odd. I was posting from a laptop that I share with about 4 others on and off…obviously “Big Sister” uses it, too. Lately, I haven’t used it much at all. I didn’t even think to check the name because I am so used to my computer filling it in for me. Being more concerned that I needed to word everything just so as to not incite more pettiness and get on to real issues… I may have started a new topic. I hope not, it is nothing more than a funny coincidence.

  15. To TDS and the rest of the SA gang……..

    Last night as I watched Hannity & Colmes I was reminded who the REAL target of our attacks here and on other Conservative blogs ought to be — Barack Obama and EVERY democrat running for office.

    Talk about whose a liar? When he was in the Illinois legislature he voted for infanticide and now tries a FALSE story to cover up his vote.When he was building his resume to run for the US Senate he conspired with his radical neighbor Bill Ayers to divert millions of dollars to many radical education groups. All of that money wasted and now those files are blocked by democrats from examination. The way he he flip flops on issues — are they really flip flops or is he lying and pandering to get votes?

    Friends, these people are the real enemy here for the Conservative movement. They would rather kill us, gut us and throw our entrails in dumpsters . These are the people who want to take over the AZ Legislature. These are the people who covet the White House.

    THESE PEOPLE SHOULD BE OUR TARGETS OF OUR PENS AND ALL F OUR EFFORTS.

    Let the democrat party take over government and watch how quickly they manage to dismantle the hard work of Conservatives over the past 30 years in a short session of the Legislature or the US Congress.

    Now is the perfect time for all Republicans , for all Conservatives to come together. Next week the democrats convene their convention. I say “bomb them back into the stone age” and I am not ashamed to say so. We have so much more that makes us united than any of our differences which distinguish us from one another in our own party.

    With about 10 days until our own primary on 9/2 let’s stick to the issues and let the voters decide who is the best nominee to represent our vision for Arizona and America.

    Onward to victory……….

  16. Jeff Richards says

    I have personally received a phone call from one of the writers on SA. She told me she knew when and what I said due to having my I P address. I doubt very few write on this blog without knowing that there is no such thing as anonymous. I know for a fact our IP address/identifying information is selectively disclosed by the blog owners. This is no surprise to anybody who regularly comments here.

  17. Richard Wayne says

    Brucie Baby

    Until you preach with the same amount of vigor against the liberal, illegal hiring proponents that you do against the Platform and A.R.S. supporting conservatives who do not think that a proven liar is a good role model for a Republican candidate, why don’t you just emulate most summer county and district meetings, go dark and shut ’til September.

    Almost 150 years ago, Abraham Lincoln – you know, the founder of the Party – said to depart from people when they are wrong.

    PS: Why don’t you ask Jimbo how many applicants he hires when he finds out they knowingly lied on their application. Bouie is an applicant, and he knowingly lied.

  18. Richard (Carl), why don’t you show some respect for Bruce Ash. He does this job as a volunteer. He does a fantastic job as our National Committeeman. Speaking about liars……

  19. “Richard”

    If you will read my comments ( there are several here ) I believe you will find me completely even handed with anyone acting badly on either side of the contested primaries .

    Frankly , if Abraham Lincoln were to view the stupid antics from the campaigns in these LD races he’d hardly recognize his Republican Party.

    Every time a Republican gets off message he helps our dem opponents.

    BOMB THE RIGHT TARGET!!!!!

    Unless you have some sort of ESP or an electronic truth – o – meter then I doubt you know whether anyone is a liar or not or what was in their hearts. So try to act in a bit more temperate fashion that won’t come back to hurt us later in the general election. It’s easy to call someone a liar or something else equally as smart. Take the high road once in a while and see how the voters react. Talk about the issues without innuendo and maybe that’s a winning combination.

Leave a Reply