Long-time readers may recall the time a local political activist managed to stoke up a phony scandal over some tweets of mine, when I was running for school committee in Tiverton. Well, the same group has struck again.
A supporter of my petitioner’s budget, who is also a town council member, set up a display outside the town’s polls at the high school, Saturday morning, consisting of a replica military motorcycle with various accessories. Leaning against it was a drill-dummy rifle with a helmet over its pretend muzzle. Most people passing paid no attention to the display, and those who did were admiring.
Late in the day, somebody called the police, and at their request, the owner put the fake gun away. Now the same group of political activists who went after me have cranked up the outrage machine with the help of the local news media.
I go into detail on Tiverton Fact Check, noting that similar outrage could be ginned up about the town council president smoking while campaigning for the other side. Neither is an outrage, and neither should be leveraged to create scandal that does nothing to resolve the town’s challenges, but does much to make people feel that civic participation is not part of full involvement in the community, but rather that it’s a risky and dangerous (yet dull) duty best left to others.