We celebrated the Fourth of July this past month and I am reminded once again of the many freedoms I enjoy because I live in the United States of America. Although our country struggles and sometimes stumbles through these ever-changing times, I find comfort in the knowledge that we are a country based upon “certain unalienable rights'' that generations of Americans have stood up for these rights to protect and defend them.
So, what does it mean to a community when the fundamental rights of free speech and assembly are abridged? Once again, the Democratic Office in Brookings has been vandalized. Eggs were thrown at the door, window and sidewalk. Add this to the broken window, the milkshake thrown at the front door, and countless other acts of vandalism in the past.
Are we so afraid now of opinions, words or beliefs that differ from our own that vandalism is the way we choose to express that? Are we so unwilling to engage in discourse about our own beliefs that we choose to defend those beliefs by stomping on the fundamental rights of others?
I’m wondering what the community of Brookings thinks about this. I’m wondering what shop owners along that part of Highway 101 feel about such a mess adjacent to their own shops. I’m wondering what the tourists, a vital part of the Brookings economy, feel about this. I can tell you what three passersby told me as I cleaned the eggshells and egg yolk off the sidewalk they were walking upon.
“I’m a Republican and I don’t agree with a thing you people say - but I’m not about to do that kind of thing to your office.”
“Thank you for cleaning up this mess.”
“We were thinking of moving here but we’re not sure now – and we’re not even Democrats. Does this kind of thing happen a lot?”
I look forward to the day in this community when the best ideals of our democracy are realized. When the right to have a different opinion is respected and disagreements about that opinion are dealt with in a civilized manner.
When we all live up to the promise that is America.
Rules Committee Chair
Curry County Democrats