I am a life-long Democrat and I join Michael J. Pearce in condemning the arson of the Albany County Republican Party Headquarters. As we have been reminded, this is not the way it is supposed to be. People belonging to parties other than our own are still our fellow Americans. Hopefully we share belief in the democratic foundations of our republic, in the rule of law, in the separation of powers, in a system of checks and balances, in freedom of the press and freedom of speech, and in the wisdom of our long history of the peaceful transition of power.

We should condemn all violence, such as the rash of killings of unarmed black men by white police. That is the reason athletes, peacefully, have taken a knee—those victims were very concretely deprived of their rights to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, of which the anthem and flag are but symbols and for which rights our veterans fought. Look past the self-serving spin and distraction. Remember UW’s Black 14, whose courage to protest discrimination in a peaceful manner now is honored by statue?

Violence and lawlessness are not the answer. Instead, take positive, constructive action. Be the change you wish to see in the world. Educate yourself on the issues and people involved. Choose reliable sources like those who actual show pertinent documents and post them, and who ask a wide variety of experts to explain and correct any misunderstandings. Ask who benefits from this and who is harmed. Follow the rule of law and insist our government officials do likewise. Contact your government officials—call, write, email. And if you don’t like or can’t understand their answers, keep asking.

Insist that our elections be secured against influence, that everyone entitled to vote has an opportunity to do so, and on the peaceful transition of power.

Listen. Think. Try to find common ground. Volunteer if you can. Sign petitions.


Carol Smith


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