I am sorry. I have said this from the beginning – I do not know any other words to say.
I regret sharing what I thought was a benign link about Georgia politics on social media. After someone added a troubling meme to my post, I soon learned that the link I shared was connected to an extremist organization and I quickly deleted it and apologized. I had no idea. I do not live in that world, have never lived in that world, and honestly had no idea that these groups even existed. I do find it odd that the ones who called me out on it knew of them.
Like many others, I spend considerable time on social media and often share items or links I feel to be humorous or informative. While I marvel at the wonders of our information age, I now understand the associated dangers as well. I am not a politician I am an American and treat everyone the equally and judge no one based on race, color, religion, or sex.
When one becomes an elected official, one must become especially vigilant about what one shares and do one’s homework and due diligence. A lesson learned—a lesson that bears sharing much more than any seemingly innocuous web link. I became involved because I believe in America, Constitutional Rights and Freedoms and that All are created equal.
My post unfortunately became a major story and I have had to endure the racist epithet from far and near. Those who know me know it is unfair and untrue, but life is not always fair. I know much about living in a world that is not always fair and as each situation presents itself, I work to listen, learn and so that I can grow to a better human being.
Perhaps another lesson is that “racist” accusations are far too commonplace. But there are those who see political advantage to be gained by flinging emotional accusations and generating discord instead of discussion.
The Laconia School Board succumbed to the emotions generated by craven political activists. I was dismissed from the Budget and Personnel Committee as well as from the Strategic Planning Committee/Portrait of a Graduate as former political opponents and election losers had a field day.
But it got worse. Imagine getting voice messages at home that “We’re coming to get you!”
Or consider the harassing calls to my workplace. There are some scary people out there.
Some counsel me to just put my head down and ignore it all. But folks who know me understand that it is not my nature to hide or be bullied. I have no problem apologizing which I have done. And I also have no problem shining a light where it needs to be shined. I do not want public life lessons to be suppressed.
This difficult life chapter has made me humbler, wiser, and hopefully better. Just as I am accountable for my actions, so too should those who shamelessly swoop in to exploit peoples’ missteps for political purpose.
These emotions associated with this episode hopefully will fade over time. I now better know what to expect from my adversaries, but I also have a new appreciation for my many friends and for so many other sympathetic and understanding folks who have emerged from all over. And for that I am not sorry!
State Representative Dawn Johnson of Laconia was elected to a House seat for Belknap District 3 on Nov. 3.