pogrom (noun) – an organized massacre
That word – pogrom – is loaded with emotion, horror, danger. It’s not a word I like to use, even hyperbolically as I do here to make a point. But when trying to describe the movements afoot in some corners of the Internet, where profiles are systematically removed (i.e. killed) solely for threatening ideological purity, the words “virtual pogrom” seem to fit. My apologies to anyone who might find the word offensive.
Our story …
Some day perhaps, I will learn my lesson. Some day perhaps, I will accept the fact that Politics changes people … especially when they are disappointed for not getting their way … and sometimes even when they do get their way.
Some day … perhaps …
My sullen mood is the result of losing a favorite and – at one time – an all-welcoming “discussion” website where The News was the stated objective, and political discussion (i.e. arguing politics) its true driving force. It was a crushing turn of events, where the toleration of all views – expressed respectfully – degenerated into a Safe Space for those unable to grasp the fundamentals of a democratic republic (i.e. the Electoral College) nor the results of its freely exercised elections.
My first exposure to WHAPS (Web-based Hyper-Active Political Sensitivity) occurred in the months between the first election of Barack H. Obama and his ensuing Inauguration. It was December 2008, where after allowing almost eight years of Bush-bashing that a favored hobby site decided it was best for their WHAPS-afflicted egos if all Political discussion be banned from their rather extensive blogging and discussion forums.
The webmaster was completely fine with creating an individual Political Forum for high-strung political arguments that blossomed immediately after the 9-11 attacks, and grew quickly into a hotbed for web clicks. For seven years we discussed every Bush43 shortcoming and defense thereof, with a pledge from Management to stay out. The members were left to police their own mess.
That changed with the election of the first African-American President. Suddenly management was jumping into the middle of all sorts of issues dealing with the expression of political opinion.
It became obvious after a series of rule changes and standard tightening that the real issue was being critical of that particular President! Where Bush-bashing had been a contentious and profitable enterprise, suddenly any political reference to his successor would reflect badly on the Web Product. Political criticism became a dirty word, simply because of who was occupying 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue!
Needless to say, making hay from discourse over National politics no longer sat well with the webmaster. Neither did pointing out his hypocrisy. Many were summarily kicked from the forums for no reason other than correctly observing the trend towards restricting discussion.
Certainly this phenomena is not restricted to one political side versus any other. I’m sure it happens on both sides. But my experience has been limited to seeing this on Liberal web sites.
I will not share the web addresses for either site which showered opposing opinion with such “Acceptance”. I simply will not give them a free plug!
Flash forward 8 years and the same phenomena plays out to an entirely different level. Another website where – for 3 years – the open and honest discussion of everyday news and politics was not only encouraged, but lauded …. and mightily. A site that touted talented and fact-based contributors from all along the political spectrum. A website with a tight set of rules to govern recognition, process, and behavior as a way of maintaining an even keel.
Then came the come-from-ahead loss of Hillary Clinton and the rise of Donald Trump and unconventional politics.
Those of us, who find ourselves excluded from another web-based meltdown, may well have concluded their website development effort was simply prelude. The ultimate objective a vibrant marketplace dedicated to discussing the rise and exploits of the First Female President of the U.S. of A!
It seems Dreams do indeed die hard!
Us Outsiders started to notice trends in the way posts and articles were being touted and publicized through the website’s cute method of rewarding creative and precise writing. You could not find a Republican/Conservative voice that was highlighted, despite the suitable presence of non-Liberal thought, unless they were addressing red-light cameras!
That was the REAL gist of the problem … Hurt feelings over the way they had lost an election so many of them thought was a foregone conclusion.
Of course they used those wretched present-day excuses for their organized ridding of anti-Hillary, anti-Liberal, pro-Constitution (that sticky Electoral College thing), and pro-Trump voices. They simply set out like any authoritarian fascist movement and eliminated profile after profile of non-conforming voices. Those who did nothing to offend, other than to voice an opinion unwanted by the fragile psych of the website entrepreneur, were invited to leave. If they chose to say, they simply saw their profiles removed.
That last part is what happened to my profile.
My sin was simply identifying the trend and predicting the future look of so-called all-inclusive political forum. I called out the Management on their obvious singular focus, and then challenged them to simply be honest about their intent and future plans.
That was enough to get my profile killed.
The website now touts itself as a “Resist Trump” website, where “Trumpkins” are no longer welcomed!
Now pogrom may not be the most sensitive way of describing what happened there. But it accurately describes the intent and actions of those who undertook what was essentially an intellectual cleansing!
Certainly, it’s enough to make you wonder why some website entrepreneurs even attempt to take on subjects like Politics when they really have no stomach for dissenting opinion.