Summit Democrats decry attacks on Fitz-Gerald’s patriotism
Among the growing list of nasty ads in election campaign 2002, surely the one attacking state Sen. Joan Fitz-Gerald’s patriotism is a leading contender for nastiest.
This otherwise anonymous mailing, identified only by the return address of an obscure organization, “Colorado At Its Best” – the name itself a prize oxymoron – the ad charges Fitz-Gerald voted against having the pledge of allegiance in our schools.
It concludes by asking rhetorically why the senator does not want our children to learn “the basic pledge to our country – to the men and women who defend it and to the thousands of others who have given their lives for it?” The truth, of course, is quite different.
Fitz-Gerald did vote against a bill requiring the pledge when the leadership tried to bulldoze it through the Legislature without the usual committee hearings.
As Fitz-Gerald has said on many occasions, the Pledge of Allegiance is a celebration of our democracy; but committee hearings, where the public can come and speak out on pending legislation, is the stuff of democracy.
She prevailed, hearings were held, and afterward, she joined the large majority in voting for Senate Bill 136 – requiring schools to teach a unit on patriotism, including a provision for students to recite the pledge.
The ad distorts this history for the basest of motives – to question the senator’s integrity and thereby undermine her right to continue representing Coloradans.
The consequences, however, go far beyond the damage to Fitz-Gerald’s reputation – as terrible as that is.
The language, the approach, the content, attack the very underpinnings of civil discourse at the heart of our political system.
How can we expect our children, much less current voting-age adults, to embrace elections whose main result is destruction of candidates’ integrity?
I hope the voters will show their overwhelming repudiation of such campaign tactics in the vote they cast Nov. 5. That is one way to show tolerance is alive and well in Summit County.
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