Dif­fer­ing Opin­ions

Kent County News - - OPINION -

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

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