Congratulations are in order. The forces of intolerance, bullying and suppression of opposing points of view appear to be gaining the upper hand. At least here in Franklin County. I am referring to those who would act to deny those who have different political points of view to express those views. Specifically the freedom to express their support for the reelection of President Obama.

I placed an Obama – Biden yard sign by the road in front of my house. It lasted a few days before it disappeared. I replaced it with another. Not long thereafter I was returning home and saw that someone had apparently run the sign over. I straightened the bent metal, slipped the plastic sign back over the frame and again placed it in front of my house. Two days later I saw that it was gone.

So OK maybe some young folks were “just having a little fun.” I wish that were the case. As I go around Franklin County talking to people and advocate for the reelection of the president, I find many persons who agree with me and intend to vote for the president. While I find that encouraging, what is discouraging is the number of them who refuse to place yard signs, put bumper stickers on their cars or heaven forbid go door-to-door to canvass for the president. They tell me that they are afraid of reprisals from their neighbors.

What a sorry position we find ourselves in when we are afraid to express ourselves because of the intolerance and bullying of our fellow citizens. A constant barrage of negative talk radio hosts, lies and half-truths spread on the Internet, unfair and unbalanced news programming, not to mention some of what passes for political dialogue from those in positions of authority, are having an effect. If the desired effect is to create enough disregard for the freedoms of those who disagree with us to create an atmosphere of fear and intimidation preventing those views from being expressed, then congratulations. It seems that the tactic is working.

Carl Updyke