Letter: Shining light on bigotry
In his recent Talk of the Town, Rep. Noel Campbell employed a political tactic I find offensive and hope my neighbors find offensive as well. To defend the indefensible (Rep. David Stringer’s racist comments), Campbell mischaracterizes the issue as a matter of free speech. Yet, no one denies Stringer’s right to speak or think the way he chooses.
And, while I am no more qualified to speak for those on Campbell’s monolithic “right” and monolithic “left,” it appears to me that the objection from those with political power who have demonstrated they share Stringer’s views is they do not want a light shown on their bigotry or lose tourism and other economic benefits from those who find such views abhorrent; and, that those who find Stringer’s views to be racially and abhorrently bigoted are not objecting to his exercise of free expression, they oppose racism – the imposition of bigotry by institutional power, e.g. local, state, and federal legislators and executives – and do not want public policy created by those who are racist.
So, please join me in encouraging our elected officials to begin demonstrating values we all proclaim to support: integrity, honesty, responsibility, mutual aid, reciprocity, fairness … and stop mischaracterizing controversial issues in order to reframe them as undisputed unrelated viewpoints. Furthermore, please recognize elected officials are not going to provide us the communities we want – we need to co-create them ourselves.