Letter: Beware the wolf (‘Citizens’) in sheep’s clothing

Posted 7/2/20

Peter Hewett’s letter in the June 18 Phoenix (“Of Course black lives matter ….”), and other recent related events, compel a rational, factual response.

Mr. Hewett …

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Letter: Beware the wolf (‘Citizens’) in sheep’s clothing


Peter Hewett’s letter in the June 18 Phoenix (“Of Course black lives matter ….), and other recent related events, compel a rational, factual response.

Mr. Hewett describes the Black Lives Matter (BLM) movement as “radical with Marxist leanings” and “aligned … with Antifa anarchists.” BLM is neither Marxist nor anarchical: it is a movement of people from all races “committed to struggling together and to imagining and creating a world free of anti-Blackness, where every Black person has the social, economic, and political power to thrive,” according to its website.

Since when is creating a world free of discrimination a radical idea? What could be more patriotic than trying to reimagine an America where all people — Black and White — truly are equal?

Importantly, no one is claiming that Black lives matter more than other lives. But White lives are not under assault, endangered by violence, poverty, discrimination, injustice, hatred, and fear. Whites are already valued — we already matter — just because we are White.

It is precisely because Black people continue to be devalued by White society that we must affirm that their lives matter. The best arguments against the “all-lives-matter” pablum are the stories of the lost sheep and the prodigal son in Luke’s gospel: the most vulnerable lives — not the ones that are doing fine on their own — are the ones that must be protected and uplifted. Ultimately, that is the point of BLM.

Mr. Hewett asserts that BLM protests often “devolve” into riots. Those who protest peacefully in the light of day are not the same people who do violence under cover of darkness. People who march for peace and equality do not become monsters when the sun goes down. In fact, those who read reliable news sources know that much of the rioting has no connection to BLM, and is more likely an attempt to sabotage the movement. Protesters protest. Rioters riot. Looters loot.

Mr. Hewett filed papers last week to run for a School Committee seat. We will eventually learn whether he is qualified to make decisions about the education of the town’s students. But one thing is already clear: Mr. Hewett has a radical social and political agenda out of step with most Bristolians. As membership chairman of Concerned Citizens of Bristol County (CCBC), Mr. Hewett espouses a radically conservative agenda which shrouds itself in “traditional American values.” The group supports “educational choices to include charter, private, and faith-based schools”; the “sanctity of life”;  and “traditional family values.”

CCBC has petitioned the Town Council to fly a “first responder” flag at Independence Park. The group, whose officers publicly objected to the raising of the BLM flag,  intends to march along Hope Street on July 3, following the same route as the BLM march. They claim the march and flag-raising are intended to honor first-responders, telling the Town Council that police and firefighters are “often unappreciated,” “victimized” and “at times wrongly faulted.” I will let the transparency of these statements speak for itself.

But hear their dog whistles, and beware the wolf in sheep’s clothing.

Elizabeth Vorro

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Jim McGaw

A lifelong Portsmouth resident, Jim graduated from Portsmouth High School in 1982 and earned a journalism degree from the University of Rhode Island in 1986. He's worked two different stints at East Bay Newspapers, for a total of 18 years with the company so far. When not running all over town bringing you the news from Portsmouth, Jim listens to lots and lots and lots of music, watches obscure silent films from the '20s and usually has three books going at once. He also loves to cook crazy New Orleans dishes for his wife of 25 years, Michelle, and their two sons, Jake and Max.