Russell Wisemen, photo from thecommercialappeal.com.

Russell Wisemen, photo from thecommercialappeal.com.

On ThickCulture, we’ve written about public figures getting into hot water before using Facebook.  A candidate’s campaign for provincial legislative office in British Columbia was sunk by “risqué” photos posted on Facebook [1].  Down in the States, the Young Republicans got into a dustup stemming from racially charged comments left on a vice chairman’s wall [2].  Now, Russell Wiseman, the mayor of Arlington, Tennessee is feeling the heat for calling President Obama a Muslim on a “friends only” Facebook post.  Wiseman has over 1,600 “friends” and the comments leaked out.  What did he say?  Well, for starters::

“Ok, so, this is total crap, we sit the kids down to watch ‘The Charlie Brown Christmas Special’ and our muslim president is there, what a load…..try to convince me that wasn’t done on purpose. Ask the man if he believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God and he will give you a 10 minute disertation (sic) about it….w…hen the answer should simply be ‘yes’….”

The extensive thread also included this::

“…you obama people need to move to a muslim country…oh wait, that’s America….pitiful.”

He also goes on with his interesting take on polity::

“you know, our forefathers had it written in the original Constitution that ONLY property owners could vote, if that has stayed in there, things would be different……..”

Wiseman felt those making a fuss about his comments were making a “mountain out of a molehill.”

I get a sense that Wiseman thought his Facebook comments were only viewable to those who shared his views -or- perhaps was imbibing in a bit too much holiday cheer before settling down to watch “It’s a Charlie Brown Christmas.”  The irony is that the Obama speech on the Afghanistan surge had so much in common with George W’s take on terrorism.  Jon Stewart has a funny take on the speech {US IPs only}::

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
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Canadian viewers can watch the segment here {2 December}.

So, what was Wiseman upset about missing.  It was Linus’ reading of the Gospel of Luke::

The object lesson for public figures is to be careful about what you post online, but I wonder if the proliferation of social media will “desensitize” us all to every little thing that someone says on their Facebook wall or in a Tweet.

In Canada a few weeks ago, the wife of the immediate-past Liberal Party leader Stéphane Dion, Janine Krieber {AKA la présidente}, criticized the current leader, Michael Ignatieff, you guessed it, on Facebook [3].  Here’s a translation {it was posted originally in French}::

“It’s been a year and one week since I last wrote on my blog. Ah! “la présidente” is lazy. But we have to take action now.

The Liberal Party is falling apart, and will not recover. Like all liberal parties in Europe, it will become a weakling at the mercy of ephemeral coalitions. By refusing the historic coalition that would have placed it at the helm of the left, it will be punished by history.

Anyway, I became convinced of it the moment that Paul Martin treated Jean Chrétien so cavalierly. The party died at that moment. If the Toronto elites had been more in tune, humble and realist, Stéphane would have been willing to take all the time and absord all the hits needed to rebuild the party. But they couldn’t swallow the 26%, and now we are at 23%.

The time for choices is now. I don’t want to see the Conservatives continue to change my country. They are, slowly, like any dictatorship, changing the world. Torture doesn’t exist, corruption is a fabrication. Do we really have the right leader to discuss these questions? Can someone really write these insanities and lead us to believe that he simply changed his mind? In order to justify violence, he must have engaged in serious thought. Otherwise, it’s very dangerous. How can we be sure that he won’t change his mind one more time?

The party grassroots had understood all of that, and the average citizen is starting to understand it too. Ignatieff’s supporters have not done their homework. They did not read his books, consult his colleagues. They were satisfied that he could be charming at cocktails. Some of them are outraged now. I am hearing: Why did no one say it? We told you loud and clear, you didn’t listen.

I am starting a serious reflection. I will not give my voice to a party that will end up in the trashcan of history. I am looking around me, and certain things are attractive. Like a dedicated party that doesn’t challenge its leader at every hiccup in the polls. A party where the rule would be the principle of pleasure, and not assassination. A party where work ethic and competence would be respected and where smiles would be real.

Maybe I’m not dreaming.

“La présidente.”

Some have called the above as a tirade, others think it wasn’t constructive given where the Liberal party is these days, and still others went “right on.”  No matter what, Ms. Krieber’s post was taken down after it was being circulated.

Will social media eventually change what we collectively deem as shocking, inappropriate, or out-of-line?  Until then, watch what you say…and Google cache.

Twitterversion:: Tenn. mayor goes off on “Muslim president.” Anothr #Facebook #fail 4 a public figure. Will we evntually get desensitized? @Prof_K

Song:: Tennessee – Silver Jews