Yesterday we spent the day in our state capitol. We have been volunteering to work on reforming our state's laws and regulations having to do with suction dredge mining in streams and rivers that are critical habitat for salmon, steelhead, and Bull trout. Yesterday was a presentation in front of the department of fish and wildlife commissioners.
The mining community has been very assertive in opposing any change. All of our neighboring states have requirements for discharge permits, invasive species checks, no dredging on critical habitat, but our state lags behind and seems to be in "regulatory capture" with the mining community.
Among many of the tactics some of miners use is something they perceive to be the tough guy strategy. At the briefing they called those of us involved in this movement to reform the mining laws "ecojihadists." Then there is one miner in particular who focuses on us. Later in the day he posts slanderous comments about us. For the most part, many of the miners have addressed us with civility, but there are a few who adopt an ugliness that is indicative of their anger.
It seems to be the pattern in civil discourse these days that if you don't agree with someone you focus on their lives or label them or call them names. They hide behind ideas such as "free speech" and all the bandwidth the Internet provides to spew their hate-filled anger. The man who posted about us has a long history of posting racist, homophobic, sexist rants.
Tough guys don't do that. In reality tough guys face the issues with their opinions on the issues. They talk, debate, argue, plead their case. But name calling and bullying is a sign of weak people. Weak people.