Re: “Like our own Charlottesville’: America’s culture war lands on tiny, mostly white Lopez Island” [Aug. 28, Northwest]:
As someone with personal connections to the Lopez Island community, it was discouraging to see the recent Seattle Times portrayal of a “culture war” underway here.
While Danny Westneat’s column appears to rely heavily on an online group as a primary “source,” it’s worth noting that the Facebook conglomerate (including Instagram and WhatsApp) has repeatedly proven itself an unreliable source of real-world sentiment. Furthermore, Facebook’s algorithms have been shown to amplify negative sentiment and divisions across communities large and small.
Do Lopezians exist across the political spectrum? Yes. Support for “Black Lives Matter” and “Trump 2020” can be seen while traveling the island.
Are tensions heightened during an election year? Perhaps, yes.
However, have things devolved into an all-out “culture war”? Anyone who spends even a brief amount of time on Lopez will find this kind of fear-inducing hyperbole to be laughable — if not downright offensive.
Put simply: Regardless of individual political alignment(s), the actions of a select few do not represent the sentiments and behaviors of an entire community.
In my opinion, despite recent controversies, Lopez’s reputation as the “friendly isle” is well-earned and holds strong.
Austin Ruf, part-time Lopez Island resident