Sunday, October 26, 2008

Unworthy, unacceptable behavior

By Danielle Mead Skjelver

This week I learned of the burning of an Obama yard sign in Rugby. Were this mere vandalism, why choose one of two Obama signs instead of one of the many McCain signs around town? This was a pointed attack which goes to the argument that it was a political statement. Speaking as a Republican, if this act was indeed politically motivated, it shames my party.

If this were any other form of vandalism, race would not enter the discussion. It is the specific choice of burning, and burning in front of a home, that smacks of racism. This is not standard vandalism, for there is but one image with which this act identifies — a burning cross.

Unacceptable as vandalism alone is, this is more than destruction of property. Even if not intended to invoke the most visceral image of the recent South, this is precisely the image the sign burning brought to mind for many in this town. I have little doubt that this was indeed the image those responsible intended to conjure in the minds of those who dared support a candidate who was not white.

My husband, a United States Marine, defends the American right to free speech, and I will not stand by while the cowardly attempt is made to intimidate my fellow citizens out of the expression of this most precious right.

This behavior is unworthy of Rugby. It is unworthy of America. We are better than this.

Danielle Mead Skjelver is a Rugby resident.

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