Disagreeing Agreeably

I know she doesn’t want to talk about politics, but if Jody Williams Traylor ever runs for public office, she’s got my vote.

After the just-concluded mud-slinging political campaign which engendered a bunch of I-am-right-you-are-wrong-you-are-stupid-no-you-are-stupider internet rants among a bunch of pathetic wingnuts losers on both ends of the political spectrum, Ms. Traylor said “Enough!”

Actually, she said more than that and said it beautifully. You probably read her comments in this past Saturday’s Around Town, but they bear repeating: “Not so friendly reminder” — you can see where this is going — “that there will be NO POSTS ABOUT POLITICS PERIOD on this page. None. Anyone who posts will be removed and banned permanently. We are done with it! Respect your neighbors and stop being nasty. Share your opinions and comments with your friends on your own personal page. We are done policing them.” To which the Around Town editors commented, “Well said, Ms. Traylor.” To which I add, “Amen and amen!”

As AT noted, this was in contrast to Michael Golden’s observations about Oprah Winfrey campaigning for Stacey Abrams and saying that he hoped Abrams “burns in hell.” Of course, that brought a rebuttal from Jason Fleury to Golden’s post that “Your president is a narcissistic ---hole.” I’ll let you figure that thoughtful riposte out for yourself.

Of course, these are only two of the countless over-the-top rants that were barfed up during the campaign. Golden and Fleury at least signed their names to their posts. (I’m not sure that was a good thing.) Many are posted anonymously on social media.

At one time, the MDJ printed a weekly column of anonymous rants. Mercifully, they don’t do that anymore, although they do allow comments on articles and opinions on MDJonline.com. At least that is what I am told. I have never looked at them (assuming I get any) and don’t plan to. You have a problem with something I say, write me an email and let me know. You have the same right of free expression I do, but I put my name on my free expression and I expect you to do the same.

The same goes with snail mail. I get a lot of it from people who are computer-averse. The first thing I do is to see if there is a return address on the envelope. If not, it goes in the round file at the post office door.

To the dismay of the Woman Who Shares My Name, I enjoy the give-and-take with those who disagree with my opinions. At least, they are reading the column. I only get antsy if I get no reaction. So far, that hasn’t been much of a problem.

But we should be able to disagree with one another without being disagreeable. There are those folks like former commission chair candidate Larry Savage, who can go deep into the financial woods on bond issues and tax abatement issues, much to the distress of the county’s development authority. And Lance Lamberton, chairman of the Cobb Taxpayers Association, who is asking good questions on the Cobb Transit Authority’s proposal to replace the Flex Bus Service in South Cobb with an Uber and Lyft private ride-sharing app. Ron Sifen is an expert (my term, not his) on the county’s current and future transportation matters.

I am sure county poohbahs and assorted bureaucrats would like these folks to go away and leave them be. But they raise relevant questions about how Cobb County operates and while I don’t always agree with them, I applaud them for caring enough to get involved and for doing it responsibly.

Alas, they seem to be in the minority. Today, it is all about mudslinging and being as disagreeable as possible and doing it on social media with anonymous names that are almost as stupid as the comments they make.

Something tells me that nothing is going to change. The inmates are running the information dialogue asylum. That is why it is heartening to see Jody Williams Traylor come along and say, “Not on my watch.” Sling your mud somewhere else. Good for her and good for civility, temporary though it might be.

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ON ANOTHER MATTER: The tragic loss of retired State Supreme Court Justice P. Harris Hines is hard to comprehend. Sadly, he had only recently retired. The tributes are rolling in for Judge Hines and deservedly so. I would add my personal observation that he never acted as important as he really was. He was a kind, humble and affable man. I had the opportunity to sit with him at a number of civic endeavors over the years and was totally comfortable in his presence, sometimes forgetting that he was one of the most powerful and influential people in our state. He was also a great Georgia Bulldog. He leaves a great legacy but he will be missed. His kind don’t come along very often.

Source : https://www.mdjonline.com/opinion/dick-yarbrough-lamenting-the-lost-art-of-disagreeing-agreeably/article_bc9be04a-e22d-11e8-8e9e-2b3c6280f97d.html

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