Empire editorial: Is the Assembly the place to decide the community's conscience on patriotism?
It was interesting to read the editorial by Don Smith in Sunday's paper where he spent 80 percent creating the appearance of being evenhanded and then ended with a grand slam that approaching our leaders and legislators is not an appropriate place to bring grievances with government. I always thought it was exactly our local, borough and state leaders to whom we were supposed to bring issues to.
My first thought is simply to correct a few of his arbitrary statements. The citizens group never got carried away with their enthusiasm, they merely showed support and appreciation for the speakers. The dissenting councilman misquoted a Roberts rule of order, but the audience honored the mayor's request anyway. As Mr. Smith correctly noted, only that single Assembly member expressed any activities as inappropriate.
I don't know if Mr. Smith has lived anywhere other than Juneau, but blue-collar places such as Hartford New Haven, Conn., North Hampton, Mass., Boulder and Denver, Colo., Brattleboro, Montpelier and Burlington, Vt., Carrboro, N.C., Detroit and all of Yolo County, Calif., are a long ways from liberal strongholds. It was honorable of him to note the number of cities approving the resolution has increased 50 percent in the two weeks since it was presented to the Juneau Assembly. Certainly none of those places have diverse populations. I guess we'll see about the other 80-plus cities considering the same proposal this month.
On the passage of the act, I heard Don Young on the radio saying it was the worst piece of legislation they ever passed and put it off on the emotion of the moment and the speed of the pressure. From my perspective, the federal legislators simply made a mistake under pressure with good intentions in mind.
However, these Senators and Congressmen represent the populations of their States. The groundswell of abhorrence for this insidious break with civil rights is quite likely to be reconsidered and I expect many changes will be made.
The final decisions will be made by public debate in the light of day. Debate and discourse and expression by the people of this country to their elected officials is the way of this land and shall remain so, or this country will no longer be the free land I swore to defend over 40 years ago.
On Saturday, there was an anti-war demonstration in Juneau. The percentage of citizens, proportional to area population made this one of the larger demonstrations of disapproval for the Governments action in the U.S. We may be small here, but we are not shy nor are we alone.
Although Mr. Smith may be feeling a little NIMBY about this resolution, remember Winston Churchill's statement that, "Those who would trade a little freedom for a little security will soon find they have neither.
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