To the editor:
All Islanders should be aware of an alert issued by our local Center for Disease Control concerning a potentially virulent malignancy, symptoms of which have recently been found here on the Island.
According to authorities, it may have lain dormant locally for years until recently, when signs of its recurrence have become increasingly evident. The symptoms are as follows:
a. A pronounced tendency to listen with one’s mouth;
b. Using confrontational behavior (such as bullying and threats) to shout down the expression of any opinion that differs from one’s own;
c. Choosing to incite anger, suspicion, and unwarranted concern without providing credible evidence to support such action;
d. Voicing opinions based primarily, if not entirely, on self-interest;
e. Hypocritical behavior, such as claiming to have a sincere interest in what is best for the community rather than one’s own self-interest;
f. Purporting to act on behalf of a larger group than in fact is the case;
g. Silencing calmer voices among that larger group;
h. Using a voice so shrill as to likely cause irreparable harm to the reputations of individuals and even to long term friendships; and
i. Generally promoting what amounts to a lynch mob mentality.
This malignancy poses a real and immediate threat, particularly to smaller communities where the respectful exchange of opposing views has been a long-standing tradition. Accordingly, all Islanders are urged to be on the lookout for individuals exhibiting these symptoms. Such individuals should only be approached with extreme caution.
There is no known way to completely eradicate this malignancy. It can be effectively contained, however, by isolating those who continue to show symptoms. They deserve to be in our thoughts and prayers, as they seem to be uniformly unhappy people.