When I first joined Facebook years ago, it was a way to keep in touch with old friends from high school who were unable to attend a coming class reunion.
As the popularity of social media grew, along with my circle of “friends,” it continued to be a place of joy with happy pictures of my friends’ families, celebrations of accomplishments and the occasional joke or two.
The more popular it became, the more people depended on it as a way to communicate special events and moments of their lives as well as informing others about activities in their communities.
Even the Boulder City Review created social media accounts as a way to help spread the word of local news and reach a different set of people than those who are devotees of reading the actual paper.
However in the past few years, and specifically the past few months, social media and other forms of electronic communication have more often been a place for people to spill their hatred of those with different beliefs while spreading malicious rumors, innuendos and flat-out lies.
While people are most certainly entitled to their opinions and well as the opportunity to express them, some of the these messages and emails, many of them relating to Boulder City’s election, have gone beyond the limit of decency. There have been threats to send someone to swim with the fishes, threats to get people fired from their jobs, threats to family members, photos taken of people’s homes that are deemed inappropriate and more.
It seems no one is safe from the accusations being hurled.
Then, like an oasis in the middle of a desert, I stumbled across a post from a former co-worker who had recently visited the Abraham Lincoln Presidential Library and Museum in Springfield, Illinois.
He posted a few words from Lincoln’s first inaugural address that made me think that it seems as if Boulder City is fighting its own Civil War at the moment. Instead of being armed with rifles, shots are being fired with words.
Perhaps residents should remember they are fighting with their friends and neighbors and heed these words spoken by Lincoln.
“I am loath to close. We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained it must not break our bonds of affection. The mystic chords of memory, stretching from every battlefield and patriot grave to every living heart and hearthstone all over this broad land, will yet swell the chorus of the Union, when again touched, as surely they will be, by the better angels of our nature.”
It took years, and for some decades, to reunite the nation. Let’s hope the city’s own era of Reconstruction is minimal.
It’s time to stop spewing vitriolic hate that only serves to divide. It’s time again to become friends and neighbors who care about each other and respect each other’s point of view, whether you agree with it or not.
How often have you heard or seen the words “Be Kind. Be Boulder”? Those are words we should all live by.
Hali Bernstein Saylor is editor of the Boulder City Review. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or at 702-586-9523. Follow @HalisComment on Twitter.