This is actually a thank-you note to Russia; but since they do not enjoy freedom of the press there, I share my thoughts with residents here.

Soon after the latest school shooting in Parkland, Florida, an army Russian twitter bots invaded U.S. airspace and incited divisiveness and uncivil discourse about gun control. Troubling as this is, the Russians have actually done America a great favor. Their authoritarian government has great insight into U.S. democracy — they know that the best way to subvert it is to cause gridlock. It’s the old “divide and conquer” strategy.

Our diverse, multicultural, multilingual country is full of contradictions and cantankerous, outspoken, opinionated citizens. It is our strength. But it can also be exploited as a weakness.

When people are so busy yelling at each other, shouting too loudly to hear the cries of those who are suffering; when people are too concerned about being right and not concerned enough about pulling together to figure out how to do what is right; when people forget how to make common cause to deal with problems together … well, then, we, ourselves, become the problem; and those who hate democracy and freedom have won.

So, thank you Russia, for showing us how we can be defeated.

I hope we learn this lesson well.

Bonnie Shulman, Auburn

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