Thursday, October 16, 2008

Candidates must do more to stifle supporters' vitriol








Letter published in the
Oct. 15, 2008 Howard County Times


Once again we are reading that political signs are being vandalized or removed from private property as we head into the climax of the election season. These acts, regardless of the source, are childish and dumb and are carried out as if such intimidation will actually influence voting choices.

I deplore this behavior whether it be from kids or adults and regardless of political party. I have had signs taken from my property and bumper stickers torn off my car. And recently someone took a key to the body of my car most likely because of the bumper sticker that was displayed. Besides the obvious destruction of property and the violation of the Constitution, it is aggravating and pointless.

Fueling this behavior is the fact that the current presidential campaign has taken an ugly, frightening turn. That is more likely to create deeper divisions and motivate vandals to act accordingly.

When campaign rallies are inflamed by hate-filled vitriol inciting some to shout, "Terrorist" or "Kill him," it is clearly the responsibility of the candidates or speakers to dial down the heat, or something more serious than a vandalized lawn sign will occur. And unfortuantely such rhetoric drives the other side to anger, adding more combustibility.

More to the point, with all this hostility, the biggest loser is democracy.

Steve Charing
Clarksville

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