Friday, November 11, 2016

A letter to the editor of The Selma News

I don't know if this will get published or not, but I sent this letter to the editor of The Selma News just a bit ago.  The newspaper rarely publishes their news articles online except for a few here or there, so the article to which I refer is not available to share online or I would do so.
Just five days before our election last week, Donald Trump came to Johnston County to speak locally at The Farm for a campaign rally.  This rally drew approximately 17, 500 people according to Sheriff Steve Bizzell.  I am not personally a fan of Mr. Trump, but considering that it was being held only three miles up the road and I wanted my son to experience the political process, I took him and my wife to the event.  I still remember back to my youth when I went to a Ted Kennedy speech in my home town back in 1980 when he ran for President.  I carry that memory thirty-six years later.

While at the event, we noticed emergency services presence from different towns, most notably the Four Oaks Fire Department supplied a ladder truck that bore the American flag.  We saw other departments that had staff and equipment on site, but did not notice any from Selma.  Considering that the event was in our backyard, so to speak, I expected to see our town's presence if emergency responders were going to be on hand.  I can tell you that EMS workers were kept busy from people fainting after being on their feet all day and not eating any meals all day long.  Between old age, health conditions, and diabetes, we saw three people just in our immediate area that needed assistance.

I mentioned that we noticed the Four Oaks ladder truck being there prominently displayed.  I obtained some insight on my own after the rally and read some confirmation of what I learned in “The Selma News” article last week about our town manager vetoing the presence of our fire department at the rally for fear of showing favor to one political party over the other.  If only the candidate from one party decided to come to our town, how is that showing any favoritism?  This politically correct myopic fear wears thin on the patience of many people, as evidenced by the outcome of the election.

Look, Hillary Clinton could have had a rally locally if she wanted but she ignored little old Johnston County, and probably for good reason.  She could probably have filled the local theater with supporters and had some room to spare.  Personally, she would have had to get John Bon Jovi to perform here in Selma to get me to come see her rally.  I wasn’t willing to travel just as far as Raleigh to see Bon Jovi at a Clinton event, even if I did grow up listening to his music, still own some of his CDs, and still like his iconic tunes.

But if it was Clinton having a rally in town, I would not allow my disdain for her as a person and candidate veto our town's visibility in our American process or at a local event.  As I said, I am no fan of Donald Trump myself.  He was never my candidate from the beginning, I vehemently disagree with some of his positions, and I am embarrassed as an American by some of his statements.  But, I am even more embarrassed as a US citizen by what Mrs. Clinton has actually done.  Still, I would not let that stand in the way of our town being represented at a local event that she was holding.

Our little town missed an opportunity for visibility and good public relations with this event.

Troy LaPlante
Selma, NC

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