Letter: Speaking up can lead to intimidation

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Josh Halstead had the ability to state what many people think. Good job, Josh, and like most in this town, I am sure he didn’t speak up at the meeting due to embarrassment, and knowing that he would be attacked for speaking up in a mob mind forum. The unfortunate reality is this. In this town there are repercussions if you choose to fight against those who outnumber you. Don’t get me wrong, I believe in speaking up, but only if it can be productive, focused, thought-provoking, and in hopes to make people get involved and work toward real change. So, on this note, to Mr. Gantt your comment of “I would also suggest that if some can only write about how bad things are here in Rio Blanco County, maybe they should find somewhere nicer to live.” I will say shame on you. What happened if to the understanding of how government is supposed to work and be embraced? What happened to if you don’t like it, work toward changing it? Freedom of speech comes to mind here. It seem that is something that is offensive in this town if you do not agree with the extreme majority here. So the old attitude, if you don’t love it … leave it. Really? Is that the best we can do? Is that the best we have to offer?
On the abortion comment. It is a woman’s right to choose. It is within our Constitution that has been tossed around here. It is her body, and it between her and her creator or whomever she believes in. I have found that people who make these commits are also the ones who bash single mothers and their need for state help. So it comes to damned if you do, damned if you don’t. Some of the wisest words ever spoken to me by my father were this. “The Bible is like a violin, it plays a different tune to whoever chooses to pick it up.” Some people it’s classic, some is bluegrass, others progressive jazz and others it may just be noise. In my mind, one of the reasons the Republican Party is losing ground is due to extreme right-wing Bible thumping. This is still a freedom, I think … freedom of religion. That means I have the right to believe and follow my own heart. It is not about judgment … judge not, lest you be judged, I think I read somewhere. Then there was something about “look not for the sliver in your neighbor’s eye when there is a log within your own.”
I have heard some comments that I am just going to enclose a paragraph on “socialism.” The term “Nazi” stems from the acronym of “National Socialism.” This was derived by combining the first syllable of national, and the second syllable of socialist. Nazism is a philosophy. One recent dictionary defined a Nazi “holding extreme racist or authoritarian views or behaving brutally,” or “belonging to any organization similar to the Nazis.” Now on that note, I have not seen anything other than candlelight vigils being held for health care reform on the “liberal side of the fence.” I have not heard the words of hate and anger coming from them, or the low racist statements. So before these words are used, they should be looked at for the real meaning — where they came from. I will also leave a quote I have used before by Benito Mussolini, who is credited with the word fascism. He said: “The first stage of fascism should more appropriately be called corporatism, because it is the merger of state and corporate power.” OK, a merger between state and corporate power. Hello! That has been going on for how many years? I am not racist, nor do I tolerate authoritarian views. I believe in working for the benefit of all people. I believe that real power comes from my community, my neighbor, my state and my country being strong, and treating all people as equal. I think that is somewhere in the Constitution as well, isn’t it?
Bottom line, thank you for listening, thank you for the conversation, and thank God that we as a nation are having an open conversation about real honest needs. Let’s get past these extremes that serve no one, and, yes, that means the extremes on both sides.
Michelle Hale