My name is Ronnie Mau, son of Ron Mau, a current member of the Jackson County Board of Commissioners. Congratulations on the wins in Jackson County, especially to Brian McMahan, Boyce Deitz and Gayle Woody. The turnout of voters from both parties was an encouraging sign for political engagement in Jackson County.

I also acknowledge the clear referendum against President Trump that was evident in Jackson County. The people of Jackson County made it clear they do not support the political and rhetorical tactics of the current president. I find this encouraging as well.

Given that point, I would appreciate it if someone in the Democratic party took it upon themselves to remove the post from the Jackson County Democratic Party website titled “Chairman Mao or Is It Chairman Mau?” by Penny Smith from May 30, 2018.

Yes, our surname is a homophone for Chairman Mao Zedong. That does not mean it was justifiable to reference an authoritarian dictator who was responsible for the death of over 30 million humans when discussing my father’s campaign. Additionally, I find it especially disheartening that the author of the post was a history professor who cannot plead ignorance to this historical fact. That type of rhetoric in local politics is only reinforcing the entrenchment of political division we currently observe across the country.

I read the article in detail. Political campaign commentary, to a point, is about critiquing the views and actions of the opposition to convince the audience that the candidate you support has a better way. I have no problem with Smith’s critique of my father’s actions as a member of the board of commissioners. Discussing policy decisions and voting history of current politicians should be a substantial part of our political discourse. I would even say that, if Smith is up for it, I am willing to discuss these decisions in further detail with her when I am home from Dec. 23 to Jan. 3.

The main issue I have in regard to Smith’s post is the following.

Critique his billboards. Critique his support for the consolidation of health services and social services in Jackson County. Critique his campaign finances. Critique his position on any issue faced by the board of commissioners. Critique all of this without the use of exaggerated statements. Critique all of this without the use of claims not meant to be taken literally. Critique all of this without the use of hyperbole and reference to Chairman Mao. For, by Smith’s own definition, hyperbole is simply, “a fancy name for lying.”

Ronnie Mau,

South Bend, Indiana