Attacking people for different political affiliations cheapens public discourse

Posted 2 November 2020 at 8:15 pm


If you are looking for evidence of a huge political divide in this country, you need look no further than a recent letter to the Hub, by someone who is identified as a local political party leader.

I have written many letters to many editors, but I have never personally attacked people for their political affiliations. Nor have I attributed their actions to some hidden purpose or secret agenda that only I seem to know about.

Disagree with a policy or candidate that I support?  Have at it; offer facts and suggest alternatives. But attacking people personally cheapens the meaning of political debate and reduces it to name-calling and worse.

Before you know it you get people stealing lawn signs, making threats, breaking windows, running campaign buses off the road, and showing up at rallies and polling places armed. I think, I hope, that most of us are so much better than that.

Have a problem with someone? “Ann Landers”, “Hints from Heloise” and “Ask Amy” of newspaper advice fame nearly always make this point: Go talk to the person who is somehow bothering you. They never advise smearing people publicly.

I will also add that the party organization that I belong to in Orleans County does not sit around and think of ways to attack and destroy people personally.  When I affiliate myself with any group I make sure that decency, kindness and generosity are its core values. I would steer way clear of an organization, party or otherwise, that undermines those values.


James Renfrew