How cynical are we anyway?

Two things happened in our community this past week that set the conspiracy theorists’ tongues to wagging.

Wallowa County discovered a vendor error in printing and mailing ballots in three precincts and the sewer backed up at Enterprise Elementary School.

Within minutes of the news of each breaking, Facebook posts began appearing alleging that the county was somehow incompetent or worse in collusion with someone to “fix” the election. And Enterprise School District was somehow complicit in trying to sicken our children through gross negligence.

Honestly, if I could get away with it, I would pull the plug on the Chieftain’s Facebook page and never look back. I can’t tell you how frustrated and sad these unreasonable posts make me. I’m sure a lot of you feel the same way.

Have we sunk to such a low level of trust in our county that everything that happens is the result of a sinister plot? How about “someone made a mistake.”

Mistakes happen. Every day. Most of us do our best to assess the situation and take steps to make sure it doesn’t happen again. But to say that the school district or City of Enterprise is somehow negligent because the sewer system backed up is ridiculous.

Perhaps I have more empathy for organizations because we are also pasted to the wall when the Chieftain makes a mistake. If something is inadvertently left out of an edition, we are immediately accused of having some sort of ulterior motive and are somehow part of a sinister and evil plot.

Never the case. If we plan to refuse to publish an item, the person submitted it will receive a full and swift explanation as to why it will not run. We don’t play that game.

Neither does the county nor the Enterprise School District.

Like us, their employees don’t have time to sit around and foment plots. To suggest otherwise is to offer a totally uninformed opinion.

I’m not saying I agree with everything done by the county and the school district or any other public bodies, but my first stop is at their door to hear their side of the story.

Wouldn’t you like to be treated accordingly if it were you? “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” really takes on a fresh meaning in these situations.

I don’t know if this is happening because of Facebook or if it’s always been happening and we discovered it once Facebook appeared on the scene.

Suddenly, anyone can accuse anyone of anything, no matter how heinous or despicable. And 95 percent of Facebook readers will take it at face value and spread the misinformation as if it were gospel.

I think Facebook has made us all stupid.

This Facebook-fueled rush to judgment on whatever the topic of the day is not helping bring our county or our nation together. Good people who work hard each day to perform their jobs are being caught in the backwash.

Why are we so quick to assign motive to everything that happens in our community? Are we really that cynical? I hope not.


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