Colette Nies, Democratic Candidate for Comal County Commissioner, Pct. 3, Responds to Barrage of Online Attacks
Editor’s Note: This opinion piece was written by Colette Nies in response to Facebook posts questioning her integrity as a candidate for county office. She is running against incumbent Republican Pct. 3 County Commissioner Kevin Webb. October is National Bullying Prevention Month.
This past week, our campaign experienced a barrage of online attacks, also known as cyber-bullying. Individuals attacked my personal life and my status as a single mother. There were even attempts to disparage my daughter and our family at our home.
These attacks were meant to be hurtful and added fuel to the partisan divide. A divide that we as Americans are unfortunately getting accustomed to, especially with the current climate in politics and many areas of society. But these attacks are not limited to my campaign. Every day countless children are cyber-bullied online. And I wanted to take this opportunity to highlight this issue and hopefully help shape a solution moving forward.
Too many teens are suffering from bullying online. Individuals can send deeply harmful messages from the comfort of their living room, yet these messages have real-world impacts. Children, particularly young girls and LGBTQAI+ youth, have suicide rates that are simply unacceptable in the modern world. They have risen 179% since the rise of social-media communication.
What we do as adults sets the stage for our children’s behavior. When leadership, especially in politics with the current administration, continually makes thousands of disparaging remarks, online or in person, with the goal to ridicule and to shame others, deterioration happens to the fabric of American society. The unification and morality of our American ethic are being bought and sold for a quick outtake or media highlight, or at the very core, the striving to undermine others and keep the caste system in play.
And it’s time we, as adults, come together and put our best foot forward. Our politics do not have to be an arena of hate. Our differences are not as vast as what we share in common. Just because someone votes differently than you does not mean they are any more or less faithful or patriotic, as we all are bestowed an immeasurable amount of grace that none of us deserve. That same grace needs to start being shown to one another…with abundance.
This October there is the #NoBullyNB and while as a community we may not be able to solve cyber-bullying overnight, it will take a unified front for everyone to come together to take a stand against the darkness. It takes all of us to create a safe and inclusive space for our children. For my daughter, I choose to put compassion over contempt. I hope you do too. And as my grandmother, Irene, used to say, “Colette, always strive to leave the land and your world better than you found it.” This really is our legacy, to do better…to be better.
According to a non-partisan Voter’s Guide prepared by the League of Women Voters of the Comal Area, Nies is a doctoral candidate in land, food, ethics and faith formation; earned a Master of Science of Social Work in Community Leadership from the University of Texas at Austin; developed a graduate portfolio of nonprofit management from UT Austin; has a Master of Divinity in Ecological Theology and Care of the Dying; and conducts policy analysis of systemic causes of poverty and food insecurity.