Let's talk about Net etiquette for a moment...since I may have violated it. I have been told that the Internet is the "Wild West," and that I should not expect any salvation in my demands for openness and the ability to face one's accuser. In fact, it seems that to demand the identity of persons placing nasty posts is tantamount to shredding the Constitution..so I am told.
Some context. In response to my blog discussion about another poster's Third Reich comment in a private forum, it was written IN PART on www.coffeenot.com that:
"I am deeply sorry that I provided you with ammunition that you have chosen to use to again set people against one another and inflame passions. Shame on me also, for not considering that my comments could make it to the web at large, although it is a breach of netiquette to post material from a private forum on a publicly accessible webpage, as it is a breach of netiquette to publicly post private e-mail correspondence. However, I ask you, how does posting a comment from a members-only forum on your blog page, and then challenging readers to attack you for doing so, “heighten and further” discussion of issues important to the town?"
Keep your netiquette and hold it close, because if I had made that post on any forum or in any e-mail, it would have been posted by the opposition in every possible place. If you believe that Internet etiquette would have saved me, please reconsider your position.
I did not challenge anyone to attack me. Indeed, I have become accoustomed to it and have come to expect it from those who have delighted in doing so, because, as one of you has already stated (a director of CFO), I make it so easy, and they believe it irritates me. There is a rationale that breeds trust and open discourse--not. I have been attacked regardless of whether I make any postings and even when I am not involved in the issue, which certainly gives me a bit of freedom. Do you see no fault in yourselves? Is everything as black and white as you profess?
As to providing ammunition, ammunition for what? The comment made was not a terrible comment, and as I said, it was an academic analogy. I am Jewish (I didn't just live in a Jewish neighborhood), and a member of the BOS and a member of Town Meeting. Do I really think you were saying that I am tantamount to being a member of the Third Reich? I guess if I were over-sensitive and looking for a way to attack you, I could say that your comment was anti-semitic and offensive. However, I believe better. By the way, has MR reported you to the Jewish Anti-Defamation League yet? I think not. Has she called any persons with whom you have business relations yet to indicate that you are somehow an anti-semite? Imagine that, an antisemitic jew.
Your comment seemed to be your frustration with the proposed resort and other failings of the municipal government. However, realize that much rage has been personally directed at me and my family by people that you support. I am treated as if I were some sort of a Svengali that hypnotized an entire BOS, Town Meeting and many others to support this project. I only wish that I had the immense influence and power that opponents have ascribed to me in making me the focus of often cruel discourse. I seek no sympathy (I chose to run for election and I made my choices), I only raised this issue to show that it is not really the message that people are attacking, it is the medium and the messenger. Look at the fact that you made the post and I am being criticized for discussing it--and the etiquette issue is simply a red-herring and you know it.
As to openness of discussion and debate--that takes mutual respect and the ability to not only see the faults of your prey, but yourself. I will never be able to convince a true believer (of which there are few), but I will continue to have open discourse with anyone wishing to do so on the level of respectful disagreement. As a Selectman, regardless of the opposition and what it has said or done, I will continue to make inroads to provide more access and transparency to Town Government. It is why I originally ran, and I now may be in a position to make it happen. The casino has NOTHING to do with this goal, and it must be accomplished whether the casino comes or not. I am perfectly able to separate my feelings here from my charge as Selectman.
As to the coercion issue, you call it what you want, since this is a matter of opinion (until such time as it is adjudicated through the long and arduous process of litigation). But logically--assuming that your allegations are true that the businessman was wrong--are those people who have done wrong undeserving of protection of the law, or in your world, once you have opined that someone is bad, are they subject to the whim of any pack of predators who wish to tear them apart by potentially illegal means. Are you actually advocating that allegedly bad people are not protected by the law.