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Friday, May 13, 2011

Middle School Again?

From Lynn ...

Why I Suddenly Feel Like I’m In Middle School Again

I think it’s probably a pretty universal sentiment: middle school kids can be really mean. I remember one particular incident, history class in eighth grade, when a girl made a nasty comment that my shirt didn’t go with my jeans. Looking back, I can easily brush it off my shoulder…in the grand scheme of things, a mismatched outfit isn’t a big deal. But at the time, that was an awful thing for a 13-year-old girl to hear.

Fast forward 7 years. I’m almost 20 now. It’s been a long time—well, seven years, actually—since someone told me that top doesn’t go with those pants. So why do I feel like I’m back in eighth grade history class, with mean girls throwing snarky comments my way?

It’s thanks to a wonderful Facebook page of a group called the Troy Citizens United, or TCU. I joined that page to get a feel for the banter there, maybe to throw an opinion in the ring every once in a while. I really wanted to get information to be a fully informed voter as a Troy citizen.

What I got instead was a slew of insults and personal attacks. Below are just some of the examples of what was said to me while I was a “fan” of the page:

“You don’t pay property taxes in Troy, why do you care?”

I care because I recognize the value of a library in a community like Troy. I care because the library impacted me deeply when I was a kid, and even more so in high school when I used it as a valuable resource to pass AP tests and earn college credit. I care because I know my parents’ home value is falling, as are home values across Troy…what does it mean to the future of the city if there is no library? It’s one less incentive for new homeowners to buy homes here and raise kids. And by the way, I think it’s SUPER interesting that I supposedly shouldn’t have the right to vote on a millage when I don’t pay a property tax, when one of the TCU’s esteemed compatriots, Councilman Martin Howrylak, does not own a home and consequently does not pay property taxes either. So why should HE care?

“She is just a wolf in sheep’s clothes.”

Yep. That’s me. You got me, TCU. I’m a wolf. I’m a busy college kid, but I make it a priority to diabolically plan out when I’m going to don my wolf costume and go prey on unsuspecting citizens via a social networking site. No, my wolf days are over…I was a wolf in sheep’s clothes for Halloween one year, but that’s as far as I’ll go.

“Apples don’t fall far from the trees.”

This is in reference to my mother, who happens to be affiliated with the TCU’s supposed archenemy group. So basically, TCU, you’re telling me that the reason I am fighting so hard for what I believe in is that I’m an apple who fell from my mother’s tree and consequently I must believe all the same things she believes? Uhhhh, WRONG. I am an adult, fully capable of making my own decisions and formulating my own beliefs, and then fighting for those beliefs tooth and nail.

“Next time you convince a child what to do remember that.”

This one was in reference to a rally held at the library by a group of moms and their kids…kids who use the library and are upset that it is being taken away from them. (Even if you’re 8 years old, you don’t have to be well-versed in political and economic theory to recognize how much it sucks when something you love is suddenly gone.) Apparently one of the TCU supporters was under the impression that I had gone out and “bribed children with ice cream” in order to get them to go to this rally. Nope, not exactly, fellow citizen. I live on the other side of the state now. I use Facebook as a means of staying connected, which is why I was on TCU’s page to begin with…thanks for making it such a great experience and saying I use sugary treats to coerce children to do my bidding!

“Be more respectful of your elders.”

Um…did I pass out and suddenly we’re in 1887? Of course I am respectful of my elders, but this is no longer the era of “children should be seen and not heard”. I deserve the same respect that I am expected to give to everyone else. When someone continually attacks me and my rights, why should I have to give them my respect?

And, my personal favorite:

“People need to get over it.”

People need to just get over the fact that we are losing our library due to dirty political games and widespread misinformation? No. That’s exactly the opposite of what people need to do. People need to get the facts. People need to realize the actual implications of what the lack of a millage increase would do. Do taxes suck? Of course. Taxes suck. I paid taxes for the first time this year. They suck. But when you think about what you’re getting for what is a relatively small amount of money every year, it’s worth it. So no, TCU poster, I will not “get over it”. And I know there are plenty of other Troy residents out there who won’t get over it either.

There are only a few times in my life when I have felt personally victimized and singled out by somebody. One of those times was the You-Have-Ugly-Clothes girl in eighth grade history class. Most of the other times can be attributed to TCU Facebook page postings. If I’m gonna be honest here, I’d have to say that the kind of comments I’ve mentioned above make me miss the days of middle school…when the meanest thing somebody said to me had to do with the color of my jeans.


  1. Well written Ellen. Hopefully many younger adults like yourself are paying attention and will lead us into a better future.

  2. The above post was obviously written by an educated mind, nourished by the elements contained within a library. The byproduct of which is a mind that can analyze, discern and conclude based on the facts that were discovered. Wolves, even those clothed in sheeps' clothing do not utilize libraries. If they did, then little girls in red hoods would never be able to outsmart the wolves. These little girls always win. This, for the uninformed, is a book that can be easily obtained at a local library.