To the editor: I thank Ted Newcomen for commending me for my previous letter to you. In it, I pointed to the need for respect for free speech in allowing those with whom one may disagree to be public in their support for their candidate(s). Sometimes it is very hard indeed to avoid wanting to impose our opinions on others but we must do so.
We need, somewhat selfishly, to protect the rights of others because in that way we protect our own rights. But more deeply than that, we need to do so because even a person who does not think as I do or who has come to different conclusions, deserves to be able to make his or her opinion known, even people who have not yet reached Ted’s high level of humanity and capacity to make correct judgments.
I am not sure whether he thinks that I am an operative of the Trump campaign who only wrote about freedom of speech as a kind of attack on those who favor other candidates. I am not such an operative and certainly never intended such a thing. I wrote a call to all of us to recognize we are a community and we need each other.
He asserts what seems to be a continuation of his effort to justify his criminal acts. He makes a number of judgments about Mr. Trump. He alleges ungentlemanly remarks by a “senior member of the local Republican party.” If the words were spoken as claimed, they are certainly impolite but — if they were political speech — even impolite words are protected. I well remember a prominent member of the Democrat party in 2004 publicly stating that President George W. Bush “was a Nazi.” I do not defend such words by the one or the other — they seem stupid as well as ugly. But that is very different from criminal trespass onto another’s property for the purpose of destroying his right to make his political opinions public.
The alleged words are boorish, but the theft of political signs is bullying. The words of us all, especially me, often show our inadequacies. But silencing those who disagree with us is much more dangerous to our community and to our own humanity. I pray that we can all grow through this exchange. Ed Raffetto Church Hill