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Death Defying Election?

June 30, 2005

by Jack Lynch

Does anyone but a true lunatic think that who is Mayor of Frederick is important enough to issue a death threat?  It is shocking that we are now a town where not only does an odd disgruntled person show up at a restaurant with a bullet for the current Mayor, which many of the opposition pundits found less than serious, if not outright amusing; to further rise, or lower, to a point where a note to the Police Chief threatening to kill Ron Young if he were to win the Mayoralty in the Fall, then an actual break-in at his home, is possible?

We can only hope that this is a signal to the community that we have somehow fallen to the point where we have precipitated an unfortunate public consciousness, which left to the insane and conspiratorial mind, yield such a result.  Perhaps the fear of that greater danger will cause an up-swelling of the positive feeling of most of us for this community and its leaders.

I, for one, do not believe that civility is the end all of politics.  It can help overall, but the conflict that occurs is part of the process of real consensus, it can be necessary for the factions on any matter to have their voice, to embrace their right to speak out to their truth, and thereby test it, refocus it, revise it, against the opposing voice.  It is a good when we disagree amicably.  I am validated by my defense of my values, bolstered and challenged against your values and concerns.

I, for one, applaud my opponent, and uphold his right to his opinion, because that is how I help to guarantee my own right to speak and to be heard.  It is a vital and direct connection of my precious liberty to my ancestor’s life struggle to create that freedom in this country.  It connects me to that truly revolutionary past.  We take it for granted now, but it was a minority voice then, it was a value that cost lives and fortunes in a way that few of us ever face in our own battles.

My own distant Frederick Revolutionary ancestor, Abraham Faw, made that kind of commitment, and in much good company here.  He staked his fortunes on the struggle.  He was successful in many ways and failed in a few.  As a local Delegate and State Senator, he served his community.  However, he held two slaves.  But at least he lent some opposition to slavery while a legislator.

I believe that same public commitment exists today.  You can catch glimpses of it.  That beyond the day to day strains of commerce and personal interests and advantages, that there is a willingness to serve, and one to believe.  It is that better angel of our natures, as the poet said.

As long as we are talking, as long as we are maneuvering against one another, whether openly, or behind the scenes, we are taking our stand and having our chance to affect change.  It is a precious gift we have.

We need to reinforce the rules.  We share the road.  Others sometimes get their way, whether we like it or not.  When someone challenges the result of our public vote by threatening a candidate, they also threaten our vote, even when we’ve voted against that candidate.  Those who aspire to public service, deserve much better than threats, even from lunatics.

As a society, we’ve weathered many dirty campaigns, dirty officeholders, and a current atmosphere in some quarters that holds to dark tactics and condescending campaigns, to fear and lies, to mock values.

Teach your children, well.

In the end, we can only hope that this threat maker is found out for whatever motive.  May they be truly mad, and seemingly not one of us, not part and parcel of our civic atmosphere.  May they be some fleeting shadow, some disgruntled relationship from the personal lives of those involved, which is common; whatever; just don’t let them be the result of our community, its values, and its politics.