Chairman's Message 9-11
I don’t remember when political violence was part of the social landscape in America. Ballots not bullets was always the theme for our democracy. A change like that should give us all pause.
When the President gave his speech last month at the White House accepting the nomination of his party for re-election, many local Republicans were invited to attend. Certainly the elected delegates from DC, Prince Georges and Montgomery had a great turnout.
There was some concern during the speech, but
as the attendees left they were told there were exits unavailable because of crowds, and to be careful on the streets. As you might have seen on the evening news there was mayhem. Just a few miles from Montgomery County in our Nation’s Capitol people were attacked, threatened and spit on because of their political beliefs. Republicans, and many non-Republican guests were called names, intimidated and shoved. Women called the B-word, threatened with harm and sexual assault, and worse. Senators, Congress members, the handicapped and elderly were all set upon.
Several groups were protected by the few police and security folks available, and the black officers and attendees were specially targeted by this crowd of “peaceful protesters” from BLM and Antifa. Many were called the N-word, punched, objects thrown at them to injure them. The term “you’re a traitor to your race” was used. What irony. On these same streets over 150 years ago that term was yelled at the first Republican President Abraham Lincoln, just yards away by those in the pro-slavery party. Yes, the streets were cobblestone, the Willard Hotel was where it is today – but the mob was on a different side.
We’ve always taken for granted that we’d be able to participate in our political events without fear. When Barack Obama was our President he had many great State Dinners. Imagine if his guests had been assaulted on the streets outside the White House when they left, by people who disagreed with his politics? We certainly would have denounced it—although perhaps here in Montgomery County we’d just tolerate it and call it “Re-imagining peaceful protest”.
Many of our neighbors, Republicans, Independents and Democrats, don’t like the way social discourse is going. I talk to so many new Americans, immigrants who’ve come here for all that America has to offer, and they are aghast. Time after time they tell me “This is what I left. Don’t you know what comes next? I’ve seen it.”
If you don't remember 9-11 I'm sure you studied it. After we were attacked America came together. 3,000 people died, all creeds, sexes and colors. Our first responders, the police and firefighters died too, yet deliberately went into the flames to rescue everyone they could find. In the flames and smoke it was hard to see the sex or race of either the victim or the rescuer, because it did not matter. They all worked together, as Americans do in trying to preserve our precious human lives.
It seems like so long ago. Yet if we did it once we can do it again. Change here comes through democracy. A campaign and then a vote. Let’s not reward hate speech and actions to politically intimidate our neighbors. We’re better than that.
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