Intimidation, threats over political differences should not be tolerated

Published in the TCPalm on 01/21/20:

In Laurence Reisman’s Jan. 12 opinion column, he recounts a disturbing spitting incident in a local Vero Beach restaurant in which one customer spit on another who was exercising his First Amendment right by wearing a MAGA hat. This abhorrent incident resulted in jail time for the accused. In the column, Reisman makes the point that the convicted man was “a registered Democrat since May 2012.”

As chair of the Indian River County Democratic Executive Committee, I want to be on the record that such boorish and uncivilized behavior is not condoned by our local Democratic Party. Indeed, I hope my colleagues on the other side of the political aisle would also agree that such behavior is not acceptable by anyone, either Democrat or Republican.

However, what is most disturbing about this incident is that it has resulted in an escalation of intimidating actions and threats of violence against both individuals involved and their families from total strangers. This kind of behavior cannot be tolerated.

In terms of politics, we used to practice politics by viewing our opposing political party as the “worthy opposition.” We might disagree with their positions but we knew that everyone was an American. We agreed to disagree. And we worked together to get things done for our community, our state, and our country.

Indian River County, we must be better than this. We are neighbors.

Adriana de Kanter, Vero Beach