Editorial: What I learned when I wrote about Donald Trump

| February 3, 2016
editorial
By Adam Floyd
Editor | ValdostaToday.com

Perhaps I shouldn’t be shocked at the level of discourse an online post about a presidential candidate elicits, but I was consistently and thoroughly flabbergasted by my neighbors and friends who took it upon themselves to berate, insult and vaguely threaten each other Wednesday.

What caused such a ruckus?

A very short article announcing the official opening of a Donald Trump campaign headquarters in Valdosta.

Presidential campaign headquarters pop-up in communities every election year. It’s a common thing. But to read comments posted on Facebook and ValdostaToday.com, it would seem the Donald himself was coming to town to either completely lay waste to the nation or make it great again. I’m not sure which one, but posters were adamant it was either going to be one or the other.

Whether the posters supported Trump or not, it seemed almost all fell victim to perhaps his favorite linguistic crutch: hyperbole.

That’s nothing new.

In 2008, Barack Obama was hailed as a savior by supporters. Others thought he was the literal AntiChrist (and some still do). But that kind of exaggeration serves no one. It inflates expectations and overstates consequences when the truth is almost always something in the middle.

Combing through readers’ responses to the Trump HQ in Valdosta was depressing. It was all emotion and no substance, and more than once we had to remove comments from our site for vulgar language (The First Amendment guarantees your right to free speech but not the right to use our site to exercise it).

Exaggeration and name calling accomplish nothing, and our democracy deserves better.

Instead of calling Trump a chump, maybe bring up your concerns about his proposal to position American military in the South China Sea as a means to negotiate trade deals with China. It’s a show of force, but is that the best way to negotiate with China?

Instead of calling Bernie Sanders a hippie communist, maybe talk about how the progressive ideas his followers are latching on to are not likely to ever fly in the U.S. Congress. People may like his ideas, but will he ever be able to actually implement them?

There are ideas and issues to be discussed that need more than name-calling and four-letter-words.

Valdosta, we need to do our homework, we need to remember how to use our manners and we need to discuss issues like adults in real life and online.

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5 Comments on "Editorial: What I learned when I wrote about Donald Trump"

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  1. An Observer says:

    I agree wholeheartedly. I’m not a fan of Bernie Sanders’ policies, but I appreciate his civility, a good example. Marco Rubio and Ben Carson also act more presidential than most. I’m ready for manners and decorum to make a comeback, in person and online.

  2. dixie&trixe says:

    Adam, please you should run this website with the same dignity that you want your readers to have. I see you somehow took down the post of the young lady that was indicted for killing the young man in Lake
    Park, and you somehow blocked it from people being able to post or read all of the post. I also see how you keep articles up of other people that have been arrested for crimes and some of your favorite stories like the Iran, Hilary not even close article so please don’t act like people aren’t on to you and this website you can post this comment or not but at least I know you read it good day Sir

  3. blacksheep says:

    You may not have agreed with Obama’s policies which is okay, but he had not been spreading hate and insults for 7 months either.

    • Gomez Tankeray says:

      No, he has just been screwing up an economy and dividing a nation for the past 7 years all for the sake of “legacy” and “history”. I hate the Left and right equally but Barry is a prime example of “post turtle” president. He’s the one who’s gotten the people to support Trump which is based greatly on the “Facebook share” crowd. Non of the Rethuglicans OR Democraps are worth the office of the president.

      • whitesavage says:

        No Gomez if you support him the hate for others and President Obama was already inside of you he just brought it out