04 November 2008

What a moron!

This guy is a complete moron. He stole political yard signs and then wrote this on the Puffington Host:

"yanking out the signs and running like a scared rabbit back to my idling car was one of the single-most exhilarating and empowering political acts that I have ever done."

St Olaf College has fired him.

On this same subject, I wrote the following to our local newspaper last month.

A true story. In the spring of 1976, the small city I lived in was off the beaten path, so the one time a presidential candidate came to town, three of us, all high school juniors, cut class and went out to the airport to see some history, no matter who it was. The candidate got off the plane, gave a brief speech and came down the fence line shaking hands. When he took my hand, I said, "Governor, I disagree with almost everything you say, but I would die to defend your right to say it."

Looking me in the eye from his wheelchair, George Wallace shook my hand and drawled, "Well, thank you, son."

Because I still hold that principle, two of the letters in last week's Record troubled me much; not the letters that debated issues with a previous letter-writers, or those that advocated for or criticized a candidate. That is debate. This is America, and that is what we do.

No, the first troubling letter was one which addressed a previous correspondent and told him that he "should be seen and not heard." In other words, 'since I disagree with you, shut up!' The second troubling letter described the stealing of political yard signs.

Both the be-seen-and-not-heard letter, and the vandalism described in the other letter, are attempts to silence someone's political speech. This is the sort of thing one expects in Mugabe's Zimbabwe and Putin's Russia. Every citizen ought to reject such political bullying as unAmerican.

So go ahead and campaign if it suits you. By all means study the issues and, if you are legally entitled, vote for the candidate of your choice..

And then, a couple weeks after the election, take down the signs and peel off the bumper stickers. You do not have to, because that is also is protected speech. But in my opinion, whether you are bragging that your guy won, or complaining that your side lost, leaving up such signs make you look small. You see, after the election is the time for all of us to come together and support the president, whoever it is.

Note that I did not say "agree with the president" or support all of his policies. There is a place for on-going protest, letter writing and working for their defeat in the next election, but the incessant ridicule, by both major parties, of our elected leaders over the last 16 years demeans us as a people and weakens us as a nation.

So I propose that we covenant to participate in this process, treating each other and the candidates with respect. And when one of them has been elected through the constitutional process, whether it is Bob Barr or Cynthia McKinney, or one of those lesser known guys, let us then pray for and support OUR president.

Tony Stoutenburg

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