Many people around the country were surprised and stunned last week as we collectively watched our Capitol being sacked by rampaging insurrectionists. While disappointed, our family was not surprised.
Our story starts back in July when my two kids were instrumental in inspiring the city of Half Moon Bay to place a Black Lives Matter mural onto the side of City Hall. They were featured on the front page of this newspaper, which my wife proudly placed in the front window of her Main Street shop.
And so it began.
Within two weeks, a Montara woman would come to the shop and verbally assault my wife, screaming about how she was “indoctrinating (our kids) into a Marxist-communist lifestyle.”
It was quiet after that until Nov. 15, when an anonymous and vaguely threatening voicemail message was left at the shop. The same day, a specious complaint was filed with the county via its COVID-19 compliance reporting website.
Then on Nov. 27, the first of what would be four stunningly hate-filled letters was received at the shop. Others were received at our home. It is impossible to summarize them here, but one line that connects to our Montara friend stands out: “Let’s talk about the picture you have of your two young kids that you have indoctrinated into this BLM lifestyle that you have plastered on your front window of your store ...” There were also numerous tropes about the election being stolen, Biden being corrupt and pretty much every other Trump talking point you can imagine. And a lot, a whole lot, of vulgar and ugly and threatening language.
I cannot go into details now, but a criminal investigation was launched back in November.
I am guessing that many of you reading this have looked at the events of the past week from a distanced perspective. You consciously or subconsciously think things like that cannot happen in our community. I’m writing this now to disabuse you of that notion. Yes, the vast, vast majority of our community is made up of conscientious, compassionate people who cringe at what we are witnessing. But, make no mistake, there are people in our community who have bought into the hatred, vitriol, anger and victimhood that Trump and people like Sen. Josh Hawley have been hawking. Last week the battle for our country was fought on the steps of the Capitol. If we don’t start standing together to educate and if necessary fight the people who are buying into this fraud, then one day, in the not-too-distant future, the battle isn’t going to be in Washington, D.C., it’s going to be fought right here.
A first step in that process for our family is to publicly renew our commitment to support the Review and all independent journalism, and to ask yours to do the same.
Above all else, what we are seeing is a battle between “The Big Lie” and the truth. In the final analysis our ability to survive as a nation is going to be dependent on our ability to neuter The Big Lie. Heck, our ability to even survive individually is going to be dependent on ending The Big Lie (as 373,000 unfortunate fellow citizens who died of COVID-19 have found to their dismay).
To kill The Big Lie we must disabuse ourselves of the idea that social media is a good thing in any form. The simple truth is that nothing has been more effective at spreading The Big Lie than social media. We must end our use of these platforms. Just a couple of days of quiescence from Trump’s Twitter feed shows how dramatically different our day-to-day existence can be without the unfiltered bullhorn spouting outright lies on an hourly basis. Sure, Facebook and Twitter seemed harmless enough in the beginning. Now it is clear they are a force for evil for people who will do us harm given the opportunity. Ditto for the useless ad-ridden and conspiracy-laden Nextdoor, which masquerades as a community-centric online gathering spot. In reality it is yet one more insidious platform for the spreading of conspiracy theories and utter nonsense.
We bring our country back from the brink by chipping away at the Big Lies one small piece at a time. For our family that will mean dumping social media, supporting quality local and national journalism.
Right now, a subscription to the Review is $55 a year. An online subscription to the New York Times is $1/week. My two cents is simple: If you are interested in investing in the future of our country, then $107 is possibly the best investment you will ever make. If we lose those institutions, which are the last firewall between us and The Big Lie, there will be no going back.
David Eblovi lives in Half Moon Bay.