Local Blogger laments the loss of political civility in an environment of bullying

image Back in February 2014, Saturday Morning Live posted a story on the “chilling effect” which is commonly used to squash free speech. Apparently the tactic has been very effective as local blogger, Clayton Petree writes about the downward spiral in political civility in America. Local school board member, Hugh Foulke was severely and publicly chastised by the Ferndale School Board at their public meeting for speaking against their proposed $125M bond and when asked to talk about it for the blog, he was uncomfortable and shared very little.

Bullying does work. Hugh was hesitant to discuss this with me so I obtained the paper and most information elsewhere.

It is truly troubling times that we live in today. With all of the lies and deceptions that are headlined every day in the media, the people must rely upon the few voices out there brave enough to speak freely. The Constitution is not just a piece of scratch paper to be wrinkled up and tossed away whenever you disagree with what others think and say. Hugh Foulke is one of the boldest, bravest and open people I have met in my lifetime, or at least he was.

~ Kris Halterman

Elected representatives must respect those with differing views

BY CLAYTON PETREE / COURTESY TO THE BELLINGHAM HERALD June 11, 2014

Recently, former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates spoke at Bellingham City Club about his time working under two presidents. One statement that was disappointing to hear, although not surprising, was Mr. Gates’ description of the tactics routinely used by politicians representing us in our nation’s capital. “Rude and insulting, belittling, bullying, and all too often highly personal attacks by members of Congress violated nearly every norm of civil behavior as they postured and acted as judge, jury, and executioner,” Gates commented regarding the current political climate.

Gone are the days when our leaders could disagree, often vigorously, debate an issue with passion, then shake hands and move forward toward a solution. Today, bullying has become the norm, not only in Washington, D.C., but also here, at home, in Washington State and in Whatcom County where, all too often, the attitude is, no one is allowed to disagree with “the majority” without paying consequences for that disagreement. Have an independent thought? You must be a card carrying “socialist progressive liberal” or a “Tea Party right winger,” maybe both!

For example, look at the bullying tactics used recently by the Ferndale School District when one board member didn’t “go along to get along.” In response to comments made by the board member on KGMI radio, district representatives made a point-by-point analysis of the interview, then subjected the board member to a lengthy schoolmarmish scolding at a subsequent meeting.

In case you missed it, the Ferndale School District recently asked the voters to approve a $125 million dollar capital bond for new infrastructure. A board member disagreed with the “plan” and spoke up, in public on the radio, after making clear he wasn’t speaking on behalf of the school board but was speaking about his own opinions. Petree Article

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