Letter — The waning acceptance of otherness

In the days before and on election day, my candidate’s supporters, volunteers and campaign staffers noticed the disappearance and defacement of posted yard signs on Madison Avenue, Stonehouse, Lake and Main, Daniels Farm, Fresh Meadow, Tashua, Huntington Tpke., Old Dike, Strobel, etc. positioned at private homes and public junctions.

Particularly concerning was the selective removal of Sujata’s signs from the large group of mixed campaign signs outside Town Hall. One staffer spent hours trying to replace them and sometimes found them dismembered or tossed aside while the opponent’s and others were intact.

Initial social media responses, with photographs, reflected frustration, sadness and amusement. Amusement? I asked myself, has this behavior become normalized and are we using gallows humor to deal with it? Have we been so bombarded by hostile remarks about our candidates starting from the highest level and for long enough that our brains have become wired to accept this behavior that we considered disrespectful, lacking in civic responsibility and unacceptable?

To be silent is to condone. Let's be aware of the beast in our midst, both those of us who perpetrate acts of vandalism and theft and those who are lulled into thinking it’s ok to let it go. It could get worse in our town unless we intentionally make it better.

Janet Epstein