Last night I attended a candidate debate in our community. Neighbors were sitting amongst neighbors, yet the anger was palpable. The ugliness we’re seeing among people we’ve been around for years makes them unrecognizable. An elderly woman was grabbed by another audience member. Police were asked to intervene.
There is psychology behind what can happen in crowds. Research shows that there is a point when people lose their individuality and responsibility and assume the identity and behaviors of the crowd. It is called deindividuation. People will engage in impulsive and sometimes violent acts because of the anonymity within a crowd.
Mob or hive or herd mentality is how you’ve probably heard it explained. You’ve most certainly witnessed it, whether it is college kids burning a couch or pulling down a goal post, protestors advancing to destruction of property or supporters storming the Capitol and committing violent attacks after attending a rally for their leader.
These situations allow people to lower their standards for themselves. People say things they usually wouldn’t. They might even commit vandalism or destruction of property, or, at worst, violence to other people.
During this debate, while standing next to his opponent who was describing the agonizing death of his daughter from Tay Sachs disease, the incumbent delegate used the term NAZI to describe Democrats and pro-choice people in the room.
He did it a second time and punctuated his ignorance with this statement: “The greatest threat to our country is Democrats!”.
Delegate Todd Longanacre currently represents the 47th District. He is deliberately inflammatory. His public words are chosen to agitate, aggravate, and insult. His words led the charge for anger and fear in that room. One can only imagine what his private words are like.
It is time for decent people of this community to disavow this man’s hateful and divisive actions. His words are beneath the office he holds, and they are designed to divide the very community he was elected to serve.
We have had many occasions on which we have had to come together as a community – a derecho, the water crisis, flooding and most recently, a public health crisis. We need leaders who understand the importance of building community and bridges of cooperation, leaders who will work for all of the people of this district and state.
Your vote is your voice.
Send a message to this man that this community will not tolerate his hate and divisiveness.
Cast your vote for candidate Heather Hill.
We are all your constituency; not just those who cast a vote for you.