To the Editor:
Sunday evening a list of “maskholes” circulated on Facebook — individuals who allegedly (and in most cases inaccurately) reported people for not wearing masks. The text read, “If anybody is interested in who has been turning people in for not wearing masks here in Grant County then this is who they are.”
This is an updated list from the last time it was shared, and this time my name was on it too. A few months ago I dismissed the list as absurd, thinking nothing would come of it. This time I’m a little upset — less for myself and more for what it says about our community.
Here’s the thing about lists. A list implies something should be done — like a to-do list to check off. Having just listened to the podcast Bundyville, I’m reminded of Ammon Bundy’s call to do “whatever it takes.” You see, a list like this encourages action but leaves the to-do up to the reader’s imagination. This is alarming. Here we are post election with a president determined to undermine the legitimacy of the results, who has unnecessarily turned COVID-19 political, and who has inspired violence in a manner similar to Ammon Bundy.
I wrote to the men who shared the list and asked them to take it down. With one I had a lengthy conversation: “Do you really think it’s necessary to post a list like this at all? I think it’s rather dangerous. While you might be a reasonable man, someone who isn’t could very well decide to target folks on a list like this.”
I added a friend in Prairie City said some boys in her daughter’s class were talking about killing liberals if Trump loses.
That’s the kind of divisive and hateful environment a list like this feeds. It’s irresponsible. Abhorrent.
And our youth are right here watching. A few of them are already threatening to kill liberals. Sure it’s probably just talk, but what if one goes through with it?
Please use your voice to denounce threats of violence and the spreading of fictitious lists. Stand for our community and teach our youth to value inclusion over division.