LUBBOCK, TEXAS — “Obama signs here are either stolen or shot. So sad in America people can’t have their own opinions.”
At least, that’s the caption on an anonymous Facebook user’s uploaded image, posted on the Being Liberal fan page and seen above. Is it a threat? Simple vandalism? Based on the background of the photograph, this vandalism by firearm occurred in a residential neighborhood, showing a startlingly high disregard for human life. This is, at the least, reckless endangerment. At worst, it is a direct attack on the democratic process. Second amendment rights don’t give you the right to take someone else’s first amendment rights. Free speech is free speech.
With the recent armed attack on a Denver field office for Barack Obama and the Tea Party-affiliated “True The Vote” campaign being criminally investigated for country-wide voter suppression efforts, it seems that the ever-more-radical members of the political right wing are getting worse by the day. Whether or not you think your personal political ideologies are better than the direction the country seems to be headed in, the United States of America was founded on a strong belief in the democratic process and the belief that a republic by democracy is the fairest form of government. Suppressing or intimidating voters is a war on democracy itself and is tantamount to treason.
Both sides of the coin are wrong, by the way; voter intimidation or suppression from the left is just as heinous, although seems to be less prevalent in this election. In fact, there are almost no documented instances of voter intimidation and suppression from the left this election cycle.
It isn’t difficult to find anecdotes of those that have been affected by such efforts:
And the list goes on and on. When I see signs supporting candidates I am vehemently against, do I disagree? Yes. However, do I ever think — even for a moment — that I should move to vandalize their property, restrict their freedom of speech or intimidate those voting for the other side? No. We are a democracy. It isn’t up to me which candidates are elected. It is up to America as a whole, and that process demands the utmost respect.
Here’s another personal anecdote, emailed to my public email address:
Saw your post on Facebook about vandalism, and I had a small thing that happened to me; my car and my husband’s car vandalized. Whoever did it tore the Obama signs off our cars very violently — several of them were cut in half as well. This was in West Caldwell, NJ.
This happens country-wide. I am begging you — do not infringe anyone’s right to free speech no matter how much you may disagree. This activity is simply wrong. If you have your own story about voter intimidation or vandalism, please email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.