So last week The Columbus Dispatch revealed a passle of mean racist, misogynistic, homophobic tweets posted by Gahanna mayoral candidate Joseph Gergley.
Since then Columbus news station 10tv has uncovered more of the same posted by Gergley on Facebook.
In 2009 Gergley posted:
"Michael Jackson was white, Jamie Foxx you are a racist (gay slur that starts with "f")!!"
In December of 2009: "Merry Christmas everyone. Everyone be careful. The Obama lovers are out looking to play Grinch and jack your stuff.”
In February 2007: "Go Bears, beat the (gay slur that starts with "f") Colts."
In 2007: "It might sound politically incorrect but it’s the truth, just like police who target blacks. Blacks commit a lot bigger percentage of crimes then (sic) whites even though they're (sic) population is a lot smaller."
In a weak post-busted defense of himself which he posted on his Facebook page Gergley said:
"...many of you know me and know these social media posts don’t at all represent who I am...."
But of course these social media posts do indeed represent who Joseph Gergley is. That's what social media posts do. They represent who you are. They represent that Joseph Gergley, for example, is someone who's been thinking up demeaning things to say about women, gays, and minorities and passing them off as jokes, by his own account and by the account of the evidence, since back when he was in high school and college and through his mid-twenties.
He's 26 now and has spent at least the past 8 years, the formative college and young adult years, embracing the kind of thinking exhibited in those Twitter and Facebook posts.
Which makes one wonder if perhaps Mr. Gergley neglected to delete all those offensive posts because he thought it was all right to let the world know that this is the way he thinks. Maybe in the circle he lived and traveled in people found his nasty jokes and slurs funny and witty and rewarded him with the positive reinforcement of social acceptance and popularity. Maybe nobody ever called him out for those mean posts.
But they are now.
Maybe posting on social media is like social drinking. Done responsibly and considerately , it's a pleasant activity among friends that enhances our enjoyment of life. But media posting, like drinking, can bring out the worst in some people, bring out the side they'd rather people didn't know about but can't stop themselves from revealing while under it's influence. And, done recklessly and to excess, can wreak havoc on a person's life and plans.
Maybe the new slogan should be friends don't let friends post irresponsibly.
Maybe back when he was in college a real friend would have let Joe Gergley know that those tweets and Facebook posts weren't cool. Maybe a caring relative could have taken him aside and shown him the error of his thinking.
Unless everyone whose voice he's ever heard agrees with or at least isn't offended by his thinking.
I'd venture to say the mind-set Joseph Gergley revealed while under the influence of social media will sabotage him politically in a place like Gahanna, Ohio. We're small but we're a diverse community.
I'd also venture to say that the brief perfunctory apology for his offensive posts that Mr. Gergley offered on his Facebook page hasn't changed his thinking about women, blacks, and gays even though it's a pretty good bet he'll stop posting what he thinks on social media.
What Joseph Gergley really needs to do change his environment, move out of his parents' home and start having different life experiences or else if he lives to be 100 years old he'll still be living inside that twenty-something-year-old brain that produced the thinking he imprudently shared on social media.