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The Mayor’s Corner

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Posted: Friday, May 31, 2019 11:51 am

Thanks to the FRA Branch 289 and Auxiliary, VFW Post 5477 and Auxiliary, American Legion Post 820 and Auxiliary, as well as the City of Imperial Beach, for hosting a beautiful and moving Memorial Day Ceremony at Veterans Park, on Monday, May 27. Thanks also goes to the Imperial Beach Woman’s Club, Navy Wives Club No. 16, Imperial Beach Rotary, and the Imperial Beach Chamber of Commerce as well as the Mar Vista High School Band and NJROTC. Memorial Day Officials Chris Chapman, Bill Weatherford, Don Kelley and Anna Cox did a wonderful job of organizing this important event acknowledging and honoring those who made the ultimate sacrifice for the United States of America. It was especially moving that the ceremony was dedicated to William “Bill” Landry who passed away on April 15 of this year. Bill, a veteran, had been the chairman of the Memorial Day Ceremony in Imperial Beach for 51 years. He exemplified the spirit of service to our community, city and nation.

That spirit of service and commitment to our civil society in the United States was the hallmark of our Founding Fathers. That is why George Washington wrote “The Rules of Civil & Decent Behavior in Company and Conversation” to attempt to prescribe norms for behavior in society. Unfortunately, in today’s world of uncivil social media in which bullying and deliberately spreading false information are the norm, this seems quaint. Some of Washington’s rules included (paraphrased), “Do not be quick to believe bad reports about others,”’ “Always allow reason to govern your actions,” “Do not be quick to talk about something when you don’t have all the facts” and “Don’t allow yourself to become jaded, cynical or calloused.”

Our democratic institutions and constitutional form of government, a model for the entire world, depend on consensus and compromise. For our democracy to flourish we have to communicate in a civil manner and respect the truth above all else. So I am continually amazed by how a few angry individuals seem to have endless energy on Facebook and other social media outlets to intimidate others and disseminate conspiracy theories and stories that have no connection to the truth.

There is considerable debate about the harm that social media has on our society and our own health. I find that when I disconnect from my iPhone and other electronic devices I am much happier. The dark and angry world of social media and especially Facebook, where angry and outrageous rants are the norm, has no relation to getting things done. What is more troubling is when those angry ranters turn to acts of violence and as in the case of the perpetrators behind recent massacres in Poway and New Zealand.

So, ask yourself if continually consulting your electronic device actually makes you happier than being outside in nature (unplugged) and spending time with friends and family. I find that as I get older, being happy and healthy and spending time around positive people, are what I value and need most. The ugly online world of social media harassment and hoaxes has no connection to what the Founding Fathers in our Declaration of Independence stated as our “unalienable rights” to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

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