To the editor:

Among the rights listed in the First Amendment are freedom of the press, freedom of speech and the freedom to peaceably assemble and petition the government for redress of grievances.

In a letter in the Jan. 16 edition of this newspaper, Dan Braswell admonished the paper for allowing a reader to exercise their First Amendment right to free speech. Braswell later endorsed Delegate John McGuire (R-56) for U.S. Congress.

In April, McGuire posted on his Facebook page that “we the people” must be heard, at the same time censoring comments from constituents disagreeing with his position. If you pay close attention, you can detect a high-pitched incessant whine about mistreatment from “some” voters.

What we have is an advocate for infringement of First Amendment rights, endorsing someone who practices infringement of these rights, for an elected position where those rights are especially crucial. Why treat constituents that way unless you have no intention of speaking on behalf of everyone? If his views and masculinity are so fragile that they can’t stand up to honest criticism and questioning, what’s the worth of those views and McGuire? There is no honest discourse when someone scurries away for fear of being offended.

Who does McGuire think of as “we the people,” while actively muzzling our voices? In that post he states, “…these folks here all reminded us this is the government of the people, by the people, for the people and our voices will be heard.” But he still censors. For all the talk of honoring our Constitutional rights, he seems to have lost track of the First Amendment. 

An interesting omission is an explanation for his comment, “Blue Virginia posted a quote from me to try and bully me into silence.” I wonder what that quote – from him – was and how something that McGuire himself said could be used to “bully” him. (Maybe there was some unappreciated “sarcasm” but it sounds like more whining while blocking comments.)

Both McGuire and Braswell tout the bona fides of Navy SEALs as qualification to represent the electorate, relying on some mystical, non-existent “tough guy” image. It’s difficult to distinguish where McGuire stops complaining and tries to talk policy. If this SEAL is that sensitive and insecure, he doesn’t even qualify to continue to act as delegate. There are enough people in Washington destroying the foundations of the Constitution; we should be removing them instead of sending reinforcement.

The experiences of McGuire and Braswell indicate that they prefer to deal with a submissive electorate. We should be asking: Why is it important for McGuire to prohibit expressing differences of opinion as provided in the First Amendment? Should “we the people” acquiesce to someone who not only doesn’t bother to listen, but actively shuts down our voices?

We need to elect officials who will listen to all points of view without offense. We can’t afford to be silent about McGuire trying to silence us.

Stacey Briley


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