Letter: Unlike Democrats, the paper listens to all voices

Posted 9/10/20

Last week, Democratic Town Committee Chm. Erich Haslehurst and State Rep. Susan Donovan gave their responses to allegations made in the “Speak Out” column—proven true—that …

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Letter: Unlike Democrats, the paper listens to all voices

Posted

Last week, Democratic Town Committee Chm. Erich Haslehurst and State Rep. Susan Donovan gave their responses to allegations made in the “Speak Out” column—proven true—that they passed along a Facebook chain letter which contained a controversial initialism, ACAB, for “all cops are bastards.” Both claim they didn't understand that part when reciting the whole, and were only practicing for the echo chamber ensemble. If they could resist the endorphin rush of slacktivism long enough, they might've consulted Google before reposting the so-called essay (see top search results for “ACAB”).

In his response, Mr. Haslehurst remarks that “while I do not agree with this sentiment — I can understand it.” I have another item then, from a real source, which ought to whet his appetite for racial injustice. In “Criminal Victimization, 2018,” page 13, table 14, the Bureau of Justice Statistics indicates that there were 547,948 instances of violent black-on-white crime and only 59,778 of white-on-black. Perhaps the chairman can be encouraged to signal boost this credible information, disagree with the implications how he may.

When he grumbles that explaining himself to the public diverts focus from “getting out the vote,” and closes his nonpology by urging readers to hit the polls, Mr. Haslehurst displays a greater concern for the circulation of political messaging than for its interpretation. Can this be the same Erich Haslehurst who (in a July 2 letter) dusted off his Ovaltine decoder ring and meticulously unraveled, point by point, what the Concerned Citizens really meant by “traditional family values” or “legal immigration”?

A pity that such a skilled cryptographer should trip over four little letters in his own junk mail! But here as in Rep. Donovan’s case, the rubber stamp of partisan approval substituted for cognition (the preference of the left). Incidentally, the party of illegals would make “citizens” a dirty word.

In her response,  Rep. Donovan defends uncomfortable conversations. “We need to listen to understand how others perceive the world,” she writes. However, in a previous letter (July 23), Rep. Donovan and others admonished the Phoenix to the contrary: “to reassess the standards they use to determine if a letter is worthy of space on [their] pages.”

I doubt this discrepancy emerges because the state rep. has finally discovered the First Amendment. Rather, a leader who excels in following her peers, Rep. Donovan must have undersigned her coauthors’ thoughts on that earlier occasion, instead of her own. But whose words did she parrot on June 27 when she, like the chairman the day before, clicked “share” on a Facebook post?

Both Rep. Donovan and Mr. Haslehurst blast the Phoenix for the unaccountability of “Speak Out” but maintain the prerogative to platform any anonymous typist they please. ACAB has shown up our progressive trendsetters as out of touch, struggling to keep up with the ever extremer rhetoric of their own movement. Let them observe that, unlike their party, the paper has to engage with all the perspectives in Bristol to remain relevant.

Zachary Cooper
Bristol

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