Our View: Old Timers Vs. Select Board

by The Cape Cod Chronicle

By now most people should be savvy enough to understand that social media is not always a reliable source of information. Sure, it can be entertaining; it can also be a trap, an echo chamber with a singular point of view where dissension is not tolerated.

This seems to be the case with the Harwich Old Timers Facebook page. While sometimes providing information about meetings and events in town, the page is primarily an outlet for the political perspective of its administrator. There’s nothing wrong with that; the internet and social media have given voice to everyone with an opinion, no matter how marginal. The Harwich Old Timers page, however, has gotten under the skin of members of the select board, resulting in an acrimonious back-and-forth documented in this week’s lead Harwich story.

We’re certainly in favor of constructive criticism of town officials, when warranted, but the name-calling both Select Board member Michael MacAskill and page administrator Sandra Hall have engaged in is juvenile and unproductive. Each accusing the other of losing their mind smacks of the middle school taunting we’ve seen lately from members of Congress. It’s beneath MacAskill and Hall, who have both made noteworthy contributions to the town. Hall can criticize the board without stooping to ad hominem attacks, and MacAskill can refrain from taking the bait.

The entire episode does not make the town of Harwich look good.