I’ve joined several online groups that sounded like fun opportunities to remember places I’ve lived, or get to know new neighbors.
It hasn’t been fun at all.
Delaware County Friends (not its actual name) quickly became a place where locals griped about city people. And they griped about local health officials during the shutdown. And they griped about the governor. And then they griped about city people some more. City people were blamed for rising Covid numbers, despite all the locals who refused to wear masks. They were blamed for the empty supermarket shelves. They were blamed for coming to their houses, instead of staying in their apartments downstate. Anyone who disagreed was promptly piled on by angry trolls. Delaware County Friendlier Friends promised to be a nicer place. It wasn’t long before the griping began there, too. It actually got nastier, and more personal, there.
My latest experience was with the Kingston’s Home group, where people reminisced about the old post office, or Kingston Point in its Victorian heyday. It was all good fun until somebody brought up Andrew Cuomo the other day. The angry posts came fast and furious. He is, I read, a murderer, a mobster, the worst governor in the history of the state, and a liar.
I finally stepped in. I felt like someone needed to speak up. I said my opinion was that he’d done a fine job in a tough situation, and though he undoubtedly had made mistakes none of his critics would have done better.
That didn’t go over well.
That was followed by a post by someone claiming the real-estate rush in Kingston was all the fault of the “city people,” who were paying outrageous amounts for properties and driving the prices up.
I did it again, reader. I just couldn’t shut up.
I said it was depressing to see people blaming the situation on new residents who are simply paying the prices demanded by the sellers. If sellers inflate prices and someone will pay, why blame the buyers?
“If they wouldn’t pay it, prices would stay lower,” someone wrote.
It’s so easy to blame the newcomers. It’s so easy to blame someone else.
It’s everywhere now. It’s a toxin in the air. And if all these angry insiders don’t think, eventually, that the toxin will make them turn on each other, they’re fooling themselves.
Read more installments of Village Voices by Susan Barnett.