CIVILITY: Politeness, an act of politeness.

Kiss civility gone; kick it to the curb; send it to the dog house; out of sight, out of mind. In today’s 24-hour, anonymous, non-stop technology environment, civility has all but disappeard. While I am no fan of Matt Kelty, the recent spurt of anti-Kelty blogs is ludicrous. Two new blogs, hosted in anonymity, that I visited in the last 24 hours include “stopkelty.com” and “felons4mattkelty.blogspot.com.”

The “stopkelty.com” blog is listed on the Fort Wayne Observed home page with comments by Mitch Harper. While I disagree that the blog would be considered an “in-kind” contribution as suggested by Mr. Harper, I am disappointed that those who oppose Matt Kelty would take this type of action. The blog carries as a subtitle :

“this website is funded privately by registered voters that care about freedom of speech and and the 1st Amendment. We are not accepting donations. If you wish to donate, please contact:”

It then provides Tom Henry’s contact information. If I were Mr. Henry, I would distance myself as far as possible from the blog and its efforts. The blog makes the “noble” statement that it is “funded privately by registered voters that care about freedom of speech and the 1st amendment.” Sure, the authors have the right to create the blog – almost anything goes in the internet world anymore.

But my question for the host of the blog is how does Mr. Kelty threaten our First Amendment rights? My guess is that it may have to do with Mr. Kelty’s stance on sexually oriented businesses. Or could it be that the host of the blog and his fellow registered voters are concerned about Mr. Kelty’s religious zeal? However, the First Amendment has never been an absolute, and obscenity, unlike political speech, is one of those areas of speech that does not enjoy full protection of the First Amendment. Religious freedom is also subject to restrictions. While our beliefs are absolute, our actions can be regulated. To think that Mr. Kelty can single-handedly squash First Amendment rights is attributing way too much power to him.

The second blog “felons4mattkelty.blogspot.com” is truly vindictive. Mr. Kelty is entitled to his hearing with the Allen County Election Board to present his position; no decision has been made yet as to whether he committed a civil and/or a criminal act. The Board will decide the civil issue, and the prosecutor will decide the criminal issue. Until that time, Mr. Kelty deserves the opportunity to be heard and present his position.

What really gauls me is that the two authors or however many are involved have decided to hide behind anonymity. The “stopkelty.com blog” lists no profile. Mitch Harper tracked down the domain registrant as Greg Siler, so I assume Mr. Siler is responsible for the blog. The “felons4mattekelty.typepad. com” blog has the obligatory “view my complete profile”, but, gee, guess what, it doesn’t have any information when you look at it.

I dislike the increasing trend toward “anonymous” comments. Cowards hide behind the shield of anonymity so they don’t have to take responsibility for their comments. Anonymity allows them to say anything they want with no consequences, regardless of the impact of their statements. Why would anyone not want to post under his or her name? And that is simply a rhetorical question on my part. I have seen all the excuses, and I don’t buy any of them.

And, lest anyone not know my political bent, read the caption in my blog title. My defense of Matt Kelty has to do with civility and fairness, not party politics. Have we really come to this?


About Charlotte A. Weybright

I own a home in the historical West Central Neighborhood of Fort Wayne, Indiana. I have four grown sons and nine grandchildren - four grandsons and five granddaughters. I love to work on my home, and I enjoy crafts of all types. But, most of all, I enjoy being involved in political and community issues.
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  1. You are right, Charlotte. It does seem that we as a society have less ability to disagree with each other in a civil and productive way than we used to. (Maybe that is a sentimental view, and we’ve ALWAYS been like this – but I don’t think so.) Whether the tendencies you describe about some blogs are cause or effect of this is a good question. Perhaps a bit of both?

  2. mark garvin says:

    I agree 100%. Thanks for raising the issue.

  3. In re-reading Mitch Harper’s comments about the stopkelty.com blog, I realize I am in agreement as to his assessment of the potential for an in-kind contribution. The idea of using a blog to solicit campaign funds raises an interesting question. If blogs operate as a donation-generating mechanism, are they subject to campaign finance laws even if the blog isn’t sanctioned by the candidate?

    With the thousands of blogs around the world, how would they be controlled? Just brainstorming!

  4. Jeff Pruitt says:

    Last year the FEC exempted bloggers from campaign finance laws. So unless the Henry campaign paid for advertising on the blog (which they didn’t) then there is no in-kind contribution to report…

  5. Good post, Charlotte. I, too, am saddened by all the anonymity on the Web. Leaves a bitter taste in one’s mouth, to be sure.

    But on a slight tangent, you said “our beliefs are absolute, [though] our actions can be regulated.” Sadly, not quite true anymore with the advent of hate crimes, which not only punish the crime, but the thoughts (i.e. beliefs) that motivate it. Example: shoot an Indian because you hate all people, 10 years; shoot an Indian because you hate Indians more than you hate others: 20 years. The punishment, which used to be implemented for breaking a regulated action, increases if I hold certain beliefs.

  6. Greg Siler says:

    I just want to state that Tom Henry has nothing to do with this site and never did. We apologize to Tom Henry about any misinformation that has been given to anyone linking him to the site. We are simply against Matt Kelty. This site was made and paid by the voters, for the voters not siding any campaign. This site was developed after Kelty won in May and we felt it was time for the people to know who they voted for. We the people hired Greg Siler to develop this web site, and is not responsible for any of the views the site shares. This site is to share views and options about Matt Kelty. This is our right as voters to have this web site and to express our views. This is a open forum to be used Anonymously, so people are not judged for what they believe in, our freedom of speech. The people will speak out about this subject, whether the Kelty campaign likes it or not. This site is to inform and educate the public about Matt Kelty and the issues he is running on. Please submit any views about Kelty on our blogs link.
    Thank You, Stopkelty.com

  7. Scott:

    I understand your point about hate crimes, but my reference was to religious beliefs. I might not have made that clear in my post, but religious beliefs are held to be inviolate; it is when the believer turns the religious belief into an action that the action can be regulated. For instance, some sects practice snake handling as a way of showing faith. Their belief in God and that God will protect them is absolute, but snake handling itself is illegal because of the danger it poses to the handlers and others around the handlers.

    The example you provide falls under the realm of criminal activity, not religious activity. But even then, the turning of a belief into an action gives the government the right to impose a greater penalty if it so desires.

  8. To Greg Siler:

    First, I am not with the Kelty campaign. I am a progressive, liberal Democrat. I wrote my post because I believe the plethora of anonymous blogs and comments is degrading what little civility we have left.

    If your citizens are so adament about Matt Kelty why not own up to your comments and take ownership of them? Why hide behind anonymity? If you are posting true statements and facts, then you should have nothing to be afraid of.

Comments are closed.