NORTH ADAMS >> I was heartened by Julia W. Kay-Grace's letter to the editor in this Sunday's paper about my column last week, and my email inbox reflects what she had to say.
Most of them were from readers thanking me for providing them with information about Donald Trump's business dealings that they had not previously seen and that they found useful in speaking to friends and family who lean toward Trump in this election.
They feel the information is not easily available to people at a time when it has never been more important, and they have had experiences similar to the one Julia describes, traveling Berkshire County to find a number of people strangely misinformed about the candidates, and they blame the national media.
That's a complaint I've heard a lot locally, as well as from other parts of the country. Even the media is getting in on the action, as with an article I saw on Bill Moyers' site about the lack of thorough reporting on recent violent incidents at Trump rallies, including the nonchalant reaction on the part of the security at the events and the police.
A Sept. 12 incident in Asheville, N.C., involving an attack on a 69-year-old woman with an oxygen tank by a Trump supporter was not isolated. There was at least one other attack at the same rally, and that man was allowed by security to stay inside despite his violent outburst.
That the public feels as is the national media is failing them so immensely is one of the major reasons I feel so strongly that it's important to have local and regional media pick up the burden of providing information. Not everyone can spend as much time researching all the pockets of reporting about the candidates as someone who is actually paid to write about the news. I can, and I take that responsibility seriously.
This is not a normal election. Something has gone radically haywire in our system that has allowed thugs to control the political dialog and even appear normal, acceptable.
When Hillary Clinton talked about the "deplorables," she wasn't saying anything that many of us don't think. And the reason we agree isn't because those deplorables are strangers; it's because we see with our own eyes the deplorables are our relatives, our co-workers, our neighbors.
That's the horror of it. They are people we know, people we've always known to have these views, but we never, ever thought they would have a national platform with which to enact policies based on their isolated hate.
But the worst deplorables are the ones who aren't those consumed by hate. They are the ones who shrug off this aspect of the Trump campaign, who cannot see why this behavior does not constitute a normal election year, who shrug off the actions of truly dangerous people because they just don't want to see.
But what has this got to do with the Berkshires?
We've all seen Trump bumper stickers and lawn signs. We've even seen T-shirts. They are at a minimum here, thankfully, but that doesn't excuse us of our responsibilities.
We each have to do our part to combat this frightening political movement not only on a national level, but a neighborhood one, as well. People are free to fly their Trump flag, but their freedom doesn't guarantee that they won't be called out for their part in normalizing thuggishness, bigotry, hate, violence, totalitarianism.
In our lifetimes, national concerns have never been more linked with local ones than right now. The civil cold war our country has been locked in for 20 years is escalating. It's getting harder and harder to refrain from choosing sides anymore. We can't just hide in the mountains.
Contact John Seven at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow him on Twitter @damnjohnseven. The opinions expressed by columnists do not necessarily reflect the views of The Berkshire Eagle.