Sure has been an interesting week, hasn’t it? No, I’m not referring to the bizarre news making headlines — although I could easily go there — but the drama that’s unfolded on my consumer advocacy site, in the help forums, and among my own readers.
Seems the same fault lines dividing America are now threatening to separate my good readers from one another. I won’t let that happen.
For example, some were aghast that I’ve expressed the following ideas on my personal site:
- Not all journalists are liars.
- A travel ban may be contrary to America’s core values.
- The president’s tweets are not a shining example of good manners.
One faithful reader called these statements an “attack” on his values and exited my site in a huff, but not before telling the whole world he was leaving. A few others angrily unsubscribed from my newsletter, and many more noted their disappointment that I had gone “political.”
That last accusation struck a nerve. It implies that I have an obligation to never write about anything that could be construed as political, that there’s an invisible line that I should not cross.
And it’s patently absurd.
Not only do I have the right to talk about politics — particularly when it affects my ability to be your consumer advocate — I also have a duty.
Falsely tarring every journalist as a liar directly affects my ability to do good for you, since I am a journalist. I spend 80 percent of my time advocating travel cases, and a travel ban most certainly will have repercussions on my readers when they cross the border.
And everyone should care about good manners, especially when it comes to the highest office in the land. If rudeness and bullying become the norm, our comments section will devolve into a cage match. That’s not happening on my watch; last week, I paused the hosted comments on my consumer advocacy site.
Taking a common-sense stand on these issues is important to me, and it should be important to you. Do you really want me to do nothing? What kind of an advocate would I be if I remained silent? How could I even call myself an advocate?
If you’re nodding your head in agreement, you’re in the majority. Most of my readers get it.
But some of you’re saying, “Wait a minute! I voted for our president. You’re just another liberal, Chris! Where’s the unsubscribe button?”
Before you click away, why don’t you try turning the tables? So you want me to shut up about politics. But have I ever suggested that you’re not entitled to your beliefs? Have I ever personally attacked your candidate, belittled your values, called you names?
Of course not. Because that’s not the kind of site I run. My advocacy practice is, and always has been, welcoming to people of all beliefs. I don’t think there’s anything to be gained by name-calling and building walls, and that’s true now more than ever.
Good ideas, good manners, good men and women, will win in the end.
But there’s another reason we need to keep it together: because the enemy is out there.
Don’t look now, but important consumer regulations are being dismantled at an alarming pace by the new administration. Corporations, which were already operating freely under the previous regime, are delirious with excitement about the new Laissez-Faire Era, where they can do as they please.
When there’s no government to protect you, I’ll still be here with my group of fearless volunteers ready to serve you, no matter how you voted in the last election. And that’s a promise.
OK, let’s get to this week’s stories.
- For travelers, silence is golden (USA Today)
- Before you use a flight-delay compensation company, take a minute to think twice (Washington Post)
- Why Do These Gift Cards Keep Disappearing? (Huffington Post)
- I’ve been waiting for a refund since last summer (Minneapolis Star-Tribune)
Hey, glad you’re still with me. Let’s see if we can make it through another week together.