Thursday, March 19, 2009

Local Officials and Statewide Candidates Receive Threats

Our country is obviously facing some tough times as it is currently fighting two wars and facing an economic crisis so it shouldn't be too surprising that tension is rather high. However, it appears there are some people who are handling that tension extremely inappropriately. As Vivian Paige pointed out in a recent post, there have been several people who have threatened Lt. Governor candidate Pat Edmundson. Here is part of the email which prompted Vivian's post.
Last week, Pat began receiving hate emails containing racist, sexist, and homophobic rhetoric. These emails were also sent to members of the Hampton Roads community. They were followed with threats against the candidate. Now, blogs have been used to perpetuate attacks against Pat.

Pat knows that women in politics face real challenges, but there is no place in Virginia political discourse for these sort of attacks. Pat has been called names like “slut” and “dyke”, and her husband (who is African American) has been referenced by racial epithets.
Now this is obviously sad news and I certainly hope that the authorities find out who is responsible. What I found to be extremely interesting, however, is that I was at a public meeting here in Fairfax County earlier this week where some high ranking officials were presenting -- one of whom is a elected official.

As I came into the meeting I was talking with some of my friends who were also in attendance and I noticed that there was a police officer planted right outside the door, which was something that I hadn't seen at any of the previous meetings in this series. What made me believe the cop had a very good reason for being there was the fact that there were a few looks and glances exchanged between the cop and others in attendance that suggested there had been previous communication between the cop and the people supporting the presenters. I was about ready to just brush it off when during the meeting we were informed that the presenters had received EXTREMELY negative emails that suggested that the speakers might be tracked down if certain actions were taken.

Out of respect for the presenters, I'm not going to be posting their names and I'm only telling the story because they mentioned them at a public meeting. When this situation is combined with the one that Vivian posted regarding Pat Edmondson, I believe it is extremely important that we thank our elected officials for putting themselves forward for service. Even if we don't agree with their policies, the vast majority of officials are trying to improve our communities and deserve recognition -- not threats -- for that service.

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