Have some lost all sense of civility in the present political climate?
For the past few years a long-established business located on the Boston Post Road in East Lyme has posted signs near its entrance of a political or social nature, some merely chiding us (Saying “Happy Holidays” instead of “Merry Christmas?" How dare you!), whereas others were quite vitriolic towards certain political figures (that would be you, Hillary).
I am assuming the owner of the establishment is putting the signs up, but I do not know for sure, so he goes nameless here. Agree or disagree with his sentiments, no problem. That is this person’s First Amendment right, which I totally respect. However, the most recent sign posted has really taken me aback. It states “A vote for a Democrat is a vote for socialism, fascism, and communism.”
Notwithstanding the absurdity of this statement — all these political movements have philosophies that are antagonistic to one another, so their hybrid would really be something — it seems to encapsulate all that is wrong with the present political climate in the U.S. Blanket accusations, name calling, spreading false premises if not outright lies, espousing dislike or even hatred of others, and on and on it goes. This all weakens the social fabric of our nation, driving people apart who might otherwise find accommodating solutions to our many national problems and issues.
What is the point of the bogus claims presented on this sign, disparaging an entire American political party and its adherents? Well, I certainly took this nastiness personally. As a proud registered Democrat I’ll be damned if I’m going to be labeled a fascist or communist. As an Army Air Corps B-24 navigator fighting the Nazis, my father-in-law spent 18 months in a German POW camp. My father and an uncle spent several years in the Pacific helping to defeat Japanese fascism and militarism. All these men were Democrats.
As a child, I was told I had relatives in Lithuania that had been exiled or imprisoned and supposedly one executed by Soviet communists. I am a Vietnam-era Navy veteran, when our government, right or wrong, opposed communism in southeastern Asia and held the line against the Soviet Union all over the world, particularly in Europe (remember our friends there?) Opposition to fascist and communist philosophies with their dictatorships and political oppression, particularly of free speech and religion, was a cause undertaken by nearly all Americans, regardless of their personal politics.
I am not going to get into either the accomplishments or deficiencies of our two major political parties, only to say that their ideas and dynamism, even in conflict, have shaped our democracy. It is certainly ironic that our sign man apparently appears to espouse a one-party state. What about those not in agreement with him? What would he consign them to? Less than full participation in our American society? Or worse? So, let us resolve our political differences with reasonable discourse and not with insults and false narratives.
Donald Danila is a resident of East Lyme.
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