Yesterday, someone I know and think favorably about, called me a hypocrite, or at least said I acted hypocritically. I am unnerved by this. I have fairly thick skin, but this one has bothered me.
I posted on Facebook in support of a Facebook friend who was disappointed that many white posters failed to mention the slaughter in South Carolina. I posted an article deriding the state of South Carolina for flying the Confederate flag. It was that post that caused this other person to call me out. You see, I am friendly with a local blogger who refuses to edit or delete comments, even if they are racist or disgustingly sexist because he believes in free expression. Some of these "trolls" appear to be disgusting human beings who lack self-esteem and courage and revel in making disgusting comments. Some of those people may be reading my blog now and penning nasty retorts that enrage my husband. There are racist commenters on that blog. But the blogger is not racist. He is, however, controversial and has made enemies.
When politicians or other public figures make a misstep, he calls them out. He is harder on those public officials than the regular press is. He has enemies. But, calling out the missteps of public officials and figures exemplifies speech that the First Amendment is designed to protect. I may not agree with what he says, but I believe he performs a public service in holding public figures accountable.
A state government flying a flag which symbolizes racial oppression differs considerably, in my book, from refusing to delete comments on a blog. The commenters' comments are written by people who are responsible for what they write. It is no one else's responsibility. Those troll commenters show their true cowardice through their anonymity. If someone refuses to take credit and/or responsibility for their missives, it is their character, not the bloggers', which must be questioned.
Their are many controversial people I admire or respect. Bucking the status quo can be courageous. I like misfits and troublemakers. We need people who are willing to question authority. However, I wish there were no nasty racists in Kansas City. I wish people treated each other with respect. I wish governments and corporations would treat all employees, including women, Blacks, Hispanics, older workers, and people with disabilities, the way they want their family members to be treated. Perhaps I am hypocritical, but I can believe in a persons' freedom of expression, no matter how repugnant that expression is, and still believe that the Confederate flag should not be flown by a governmental entity on government grounds. So, Tony is still my friend even though I dislike the cowardly comments posted by trolls on his blog. The two issues, for me, are not contradictory.