- Rich Klein
EDITORIAL: Whatever Happens Next Tuesday, No Place in America For Hate and Violence
Whatever happens next Tuesday, everyone should be deeply concerned about how divided both major political parties have become.
There are less and less civil debates and respectful disagreements on policy. And the far right and far left are ruling the Republican and Democratic parties, respectively.
However, it's become abundantly clear that the vast majority of political violence, conspiracy theories, threats and bigotry are coming from the far right - and those views have been endorsed by too many Republican officials and voters.
And for those who are not outrightly supporting the hate and violence, they remain complicit with their silence.
That goes, too, for every elected official in Sullivan County and beyond.
For example, it was very easy for all citizens of goodwill to condemn the attempted murder of Paul Pelosi , a senior citizen, yet there were jokes on social media by public officials who should know better.
Whatever happens in the midterms, if Donald Trump is welcomed back as the leader of the party, he will no doubt, again, look out for himself because that's what he's always done for decades.
He will no doubt continue to commit crimes if he thinks he can escape prosecution, profit from the Oval Office, encourage bigotry and violence - like he did leading up to and on January 6, 2021 - and risk our national security like he has done with the documents he illegally took to Florida.
One can reasonably argue that the country is in deep trouble (see inflation/crime) with Democratic policies. But those policies can be debated and changed with legislation, particularly if the GOP takes control of Congress next week.
But the country is in much deeper trouble if Republicans continue to promote hate and violence of any kind against Democrats.
And while there is plenty of free speech, including more of it allowed on Twitter now that Elon Musk owns it, that doesn't mean you get to yell fire in a movie theater.
Words matter. Bigotry, threats of violence and conspiracy theories online all too often show up in the real world.
We saw that with the murders at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh four years ago and in too many other horrific incidents.
We all must try harder to hear the other side of a debate, whether the issue is local/national/international without personal and political attacks.
We all should draw a line in the sand and look to our OWN moral compasses when Trump or any other political leader encourages hate and violence.
Let's all work harder to speak with respect and civility at our dinner tables or at local government meetings.
One local official who needs to be called out is Rob Doherty, who needs to set a much better example in the way he speak down to some fellow legislators and citizens, as he begins his final year in office as chair of the Legislature.
And for the new leaders who will represent Sullivan County in the State Legislature and Congress come January, the personal attacks and/or lies about your opponents' record that were part of your campaigns are part of the problem, too.