For many Americans, disagreement and politics go together like morning and coffee. Spirited debate on issues and policy are part of our cultural milieu, especially during campaign season. But property damage, verbal abuse and physical assault are another matter.
As reported in the September 12 issue of The Daily World, a fourteen year-old young lady was spat upon during the Logger's Play Day Parade in Hoquiam. This incident is the most recent in a series of attacks on both property and persons related to the exercise of the prerogative to engage in a political activity. While each act is disturbing, the trend and escalation of aggression provides additional cause for pause. For those who may not be aware, the following is a brief chronology of some recent events.
Our sign coordinator reports that "over two hundred" Republican candidate yard signs have been destroyed or stolen countywide since July. Removing or defacing political signs is a misdemeanor (RCW 29A.84.040), subjecting the perpetrator to a maximum of 90 days in jail or a fine of up to $1,000, or both. "The defacement or removal of each item constitutes a separate violation."
Yard sign damage was followed by the defacing and theft of numerous large Rob McKenna signs. This is also illegal per the above. Police reports have been filed with the Hoquiam and Aberdeen police departments and the Grays Harbor Sheriff’s office. The defacement was also reported on KOMO 4 TV in Seattle.
Is this how Grays Harbor wants to be seen by the rest of the state?Another incident occurred at the Grays Harbor County Fair in August when a physically challenged young man wearing a Young Republicans T-shirt walked by the Grays Harbor Democrat booth. In passing, the polite young man was verbally abused by a woman (obviously not a lady) tending that booth. She shouted at him that he was a “Nazi rebel” and had been “brainwashed."
In the wake of the Tucson shooting that killed six and severely wounded Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, President Obama urged "more civility in our public discourse." Apparently this message hasn't reached Grays Harbor. Ranking near the top in unemployment statewide, Grays Harbor also seems to be leading in intolerance and criminal behavior related to political speech.
This brings us to Logger's Play Day, when an adult male spit in the face of a fourteen year-old girl who was walking the parade and passing out campaign literature. You read that right: an adult male physically assaulted a fourteen year-old girl who was exercising her prerogative to engage in a political activity.
What's next?I'm asking any and all individuals who may have witnessed this assault to step forward and contact the Hoquiam Police. A concerned citizen has offered a $650 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the spitting criminal.While there is no hard evidence that these acts, other than at the Fair, were perpetrated by Democrats, I call on Mr. Patrick Wadsworth, Chairman of the Grays Harbor Democrat Party, to join me in publicly condemning these actions and the person(s) who committed them in the strongest terms possible. I also request that our County Commissioners and City Councils pass resolutions denouncing this type of action and behavior.Kristine LowderChairGrays Harbor Republican Party
Tuesday, September 25, 2012
The following article was submitted as a letter to the editor of The Daily World on Friday, September 14, 2012 at 12:17 p.m.:
Posted by Beth D at 10:53 AM