My beautiful town of Jackson Hole is quite famous right now. We have made it to national news with an extended story on ToddStarnes.com. This all happened after the Town of Jackson Mayor, Pete Muldoon, took it upon himself to remove the pictures of the President and Vice President of the United States from Jackson Town Hall. I am unclear as to how long the pictures of current president and vice president have held their places in Town Hall. Some have said 20 years, but I have not confirmed that. What I do know for sure is that I have never heard of any of the other photos being removed since I moved here almost 20 years ago. Personally, I would not have had an issue with Pete wanting to change things up a bit if he had done it in a transparent manner that suggested he did care about what his constituents might think. What came out of that public discussion would then have been a fair action made based on a majority of the community’s consent. What he did instead seems indicative that either he truly does not care what his constituents think, he really did think that nobody would care, or he did want to stir the pot. Well, he certainly stirred the pot.
After the news spread around town there has been quite a frenzy of discourse, unfortunately most of it has not been civil. When the mayor wrote an article defending and explaining his choice to remove the pictures, I shared my opinion that I did not believe that he would have made the same choice to remove Obama’s photos as he had stated in his article. I was respectful in my post. I did not call anyone names or use profanity.
The responses I received as the minority with this viewpoint on the mayor’s Facebook page ranged from “why so bitchy”, “have a beer, glass of wine, or get baked”, “seems uptight…,maybe you need yoga”, “I don’t argue with crazy right wing conservatives”. I was also asked if “I killed for the thrill of it” after a user ascertained I was a hunter that provided wild game for my family.
Over and over, the mayor’s defenders became more and more impassioned and less civil in their opposition to my opinion that the mayor was not being entirely truthful about his motives and true emotions. Mayor Muldoon did eventually say “probably not” when another Facebook user suggested that he wouldn’t have taken Obama’s photos down.
I did not vote for Trump. There is much that I hear about and read about and see in Trump’s demeanor that I find cringe worthy. BUT, I believe that he was legally voted in through the electoral college. AND, I believe that the electoral college was established precisely to protect against what has happened in Jackson Hole. Densely populated cities and towns that develop a watered down but majority point of view would control the whole country if we elected presidents by popular vote. Therefore, Trump was elected by a fair representation of the whole country and not just residents of the high density population centers.
This leads me to the point of my post, bullying is bullying…no matter what. I was in the local grocery store parking lot last week and I saw a young mother pulling a beautiful little toddler out of her car. As I watched her carry her daughter towards the store I saw a bumper sticker on her car with a very unattractive caricature of Trump and the word UNFIT under his face. I literally stopped my truck and just stared at it for a moment and I felt so….sad.
I thought about the message that this bumper sticker sends to that beautiful little girl. The message it sends is that it is okay to bully. The message it sends is that it is okay to pick a person out, grossly exaggerate their flaws, put up images all over that ridicules them and dehumanizes them. It tells that little girl that when we feel hurt we should hurt back. And that is a sad story with no happy ending for a mother to tell her little girl.
No, I did not vote for Trump. No, I do not condone or respect many of the things I have heard about him. But, I believe there is something to learn from everybody…even those we might find distasteful. I was taught as a young girl that I might learn as much from a bad teacher as a good one and I still needed to show up for class. I also believe in calling people up rather than calling them out. So, I am praying for our President. I am praying that somehow he will become a better version of himself through this process. I am on his side in the sense that I want him to do a good job for us. I don’t want him to fail because if he fails we all suffer. Therefore, I will continue to support the fact that Donald Trump is our president and I will continue to actively participate with civility even if I am bullied for doing so.