So, this is a curious case of “what the heck …?” Delegate Bobby Orrock is the Virginia delegate who recently introduced a bill that will benefit one organization — PETA. The bill, HB340, undermines a vital piece of animal welfare legislation that was passed last year and it will allow PETA to continue killing thousands of animals a year. Delegate Orrock states on his page that he is not working with PETA and has accepted no money from the Virginia Alliance of Animal Shelters, a group that works very closely with PETA. Which is fine, and very possibly true (though I seriously doubt it). What is curious is his Facebook page.
Delegate Orrock was taking a lot of heat for HB340 on FB, then his page was deactivated. Now it’s back up. He’s still taking heat but I’m wondering if he’s managing it a different way.
These are screen shots of a post Delegate Orrock has on his page regarding HB340. I commented, as did the Virginia Federation of Humane Societies. The curious thing is only I and my friends can see my comment, and only people who have “liked” the VFHS FB page can see their comment. I’ve been told by someone who moderates a FB page that one can make certain comments available only to the commenter and friends, and only to people who “like” a page that has commented. He told me he uses this function when he deems a comment to be inappropriate. Fair enough, when someone is being rude or abusive. But respectful, fair comments being hidden from the public? Is that what moderators of Orrock’s page are doing? They don’t like a comment so they hide it from anyone who isn’t friends with the person who wrote it, or people who haven’t “liked” a page? This way the commenter is none the wiser and thinks everyone can see their comment. It’s a lot more subtle than pressing the delete button. Sneaky, even.
Our democracy relies on open, honest dialogue to function. You would think, ideally, an elected representative would welcome this dialogue. It’s the way we ensure we are truly a democracy, that we are truly hearing all voices, all opinions. Only people who try hard to mold a narrative, people who want to hide truth, to distract from issues, to sway with half-truths, hinder this vital dialogue. I can’t prove this is what those working on Delegate Orrock’s page have done, and there are comments from people who do not support HB340. But it’s rather curious that comments from certain people, and certain groups, seem not to be visible to the public. And if this is what is happening, that’s a sad way for an elected representative to run a public forum. Only people who are scared of the truth hide from it.