The rules of the game

Columbiana County Republican Party Chairman David Johnson certainly put his foot in his mouth with the meme he recently posted on Facebook and now he is learning just how much damage thoughtless internet actions can cause. Johnson posted a distasteful meme saying liberals were to blame for the deadly and devastatingly damaging wildfires in California. His post included a photograph of the wildfire and the words, “God’s punishment to liberal California” and “Hell on Earth, brought to you by the liberals in California.”

Johnson has since apologized and explained that he was trying to draw attention to the fact government policies may have contributed to the wildfire problem in that state.

Not only has Johnson come under fire from the national media and his political foes, the business owned by the GOP chairman has suffered over his controversial post as well. Emser Tile of California told The Business Journal that it has severed ties with Johnson’s Summitville Tiles Inc. because of his action.

Most thinking people would agree his words were insensitive at best considering the human lives lost and the property destroyed by these devastating wildfires, and the reaction from local Democrats and others trying to score political points over the post was expected. Like sharks who detect blood in the water, they see this as a chance to cripple, if not bring down, a powerful political figure.

And why not? As longtime party chairman and an influential figure in state politics, Johnson has certainly dished it out over the years. Now he is on the receiving end. Like it or not, that is how the game is played.

While Johnson’s post was inconsiderate and just plain stupid, the response in some instances has been way over the top. Some have called for Johnson to resign from his chairmanship over the meme.

We’re not sure Johnson deserves to be removed from office over this, especially when the ones howling the loudest are not exactly objective. But if so, that is something for the county GOP to determine.

If we do not seem as outraged as others, perhaps it’s because Johnson’s meme is fairly typical of what passes for political discourse today, whether on social media, TV news or in political ads. That’s unfortunate, and we are worse off because of it.