Editor’s note: The Oct. 31 issue of the Putnam County News & Recorder included a full-page advertisement placed by the Putnam County Republican Committee endorsing Republican candidates for county and state offices in the Nov. 6 election. A red banner at the bottom of the page read: “Democrats embrace Progressiveness, which becomes Socialism and ultimately COMMUNISM.” Richard Shea, a Democrat and the Philipstown supervisor, submitted this letter to The Current in response.
The ad placed in the PCNR was both ill-conceived and more than a little pathetic. It set me to wondering who at the helm of the Putnam County Republican Committee thought that calling Democrats communists was a good idea.
Democrats represent a large portion of the voting population and to dismiss them in this way was not only insulting but a serious strategic mistake. The ad raises so many questions. Who approved it? Did all the Republican candidates listed on the ad sign on to calling me a communist? Does the Putnam County Republican Committee believe this? An ad like this could, and probably should, be written off as a bad idea put together by someone who spends far too much time watching Fox News.
Having said that, there is a wealth of history that shows just how dangerous and divisive this sort of rhetoric can be. The Putnam County Republican Committee needs to recognize that we all have a role in forming the kind of society in which we wish to reside. We are all Americans and the ideals of civility, community and a peaceful society should be the foundation upon which all campaigns are built. The ad certainly did nothing to advance our common goals.
Richard Shea, Philipstown
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