By Charlotte L. Glover
January 21, 2006
I was horrified to read about the disgraceful reception two of our citizens had at the recent Chamber of Commerce meeting. At what point does Mr. Conley think people who live, work and pay taxes here become citizens deserving of respect and common courtesy? Since he was not born and raised here himself, perhaps he could enlighten the rest of us "newcomers" as to when our tourist visas expire and we become full citizens? Ketchikan has attracted residents from all over the world for more than 100 years because we share a common love of its frontier spirit, its wild places and its opportunies for a quiet life away from the concrete jungle.
While Mr. Conley likes to rant about "communism" his own brand of bullying and verbal abuse is as much a terrorist act as any bomb because it discourages dialogue and makes people fearful to speak their minds. No one wants to be yelled at in public. And what is Mr. Conley so afraid of? Of having a conversation? It seems that there are many people in Ketchikan who have forgotten that the real power of a democracy is that everyone is deserving of a voice, be it in writing, on the radio or in public discourse. You may disagree with what I say, but you may not take away my right to say it.
And, Mr. Johnston of the Chamber, shame on you for trying to blame the messenger. All the local news agencies covered the Chamber meeting, as they have for decades, and Mr. Bowlen & others did a fine job describing what was observed that day. Trying to sweep Mr. Conley's outburst under the proverbial rug would be equally wrong. How about a real apology for your guests?
This current climate of name calling in our community really needs to stop. We are dealing with complex issues that have many sides and we need everyone's imput to help us progress through uncertain times in the next decade. I applaud Mr. Rubin and Ms. McCreary for taking an interest in our community and speaking out about topics they are interested in. In this day and age when the majority of Americans are "too busy" to participate in civic affairs, we should thank each and every person who shows an interest in local issues of any kind, not slap them in the face when they get in the game.
Charlotte L. Glover
About: Charlotte Glover has been the youth services librarian at the Ketchikan Public Library for the past 15 years.
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