I have read again another guest column by Ms. Kelly regarding, this time, the freedom of political speech associated with the recent celebration of Fenwick Island’s 65th birthday.
Let me start by saying that I have no firsthand knowledge of the events that she described, nor did I attend the celebration. While it is impossible to disagree with the generalized tenants regarding free speech as she wrote them, one must also recognize that there is a time and place for everything.
The Town’s website, as well as the various local papers announced the celebration of the town’s 65th birthday with traditional small town values, which included parades, children’s activities, complimentary refreshments, skill demonstrations, and sponsor event tables.
Based on her article, she describes being confronted by someone at the event regarding her political positions and states that she had been requested by the “mayor and other agents of the Town, that she refrain from discussing politics at this event.” She further relates that she advised the mayor that such a position was unconstitutional, but complied.
In my opinion, that should have been the end of it. This is especially true since the mayor is a member of the same political party that she represents and was clearly trying to give her a message.
My family always had a rule that one does not discuss religion or politics in public, since we all have deeply held convictions on both that may offend someone that thinks differently. Apparently, Ms. Kelly’s family has no such values and thinks that a birthday celebration is the appropriate time to espouse her politics, even when requested not to.
It reminds me of the anti-war protesters intruding on a fallen military hero’s funeral under the argument of free speech — both are quite inappropriate.
Ms. Kelly continues in the article to relate arguments associated with the various forums that can be used, or not used, for the expressions of “free speech,” which again no one can disagree with. However, she seems stuck on the point that her freedom of speech “…was quashed on public property,” while she misses the inappropriateness of her behavior and arguments in such a venue.
Had this been a candidates’ event and she was not allowed to speak, she would certainly have a right to be indignant regarding her limitation of speech, but it wasn’t. It was a Town’s birthday party established to celebrate the Town’s history with sponsors, such as the Boy Scouts and a local church.
I must ask, what could more typify small-town Sussex County than such a celebration, and just how could she miss the point that the mayor from her own party was making?
To date, Ms. Kelly’s guest column comments in the Coastal Point seem to demonstrate that Ms. Kelly thinks that she is running as a candidate in New York, or Washington, not as a representative for the Delaware House of Representatives 38th District. Ms. Kelly has been espousing lofty arguments which few could disagree with, but her articles’ and positions’ lack of local content really demonstrate just how out-of-touch she is with our small-town values that are the foundations of the local politics and grassroots nature of our area,
Clearly, I am a supporter of our incumbent 38th District representative, Ron Gray, but I am open to listen to the positions and comments from all. However, I must state that it is my opinion that Ms. Kelly has not used this unprecedented three guest-column forum to relate any relevant positions regarding her candidacy and what she would do to represent those of us in Dover, in a manner better than Mr. Gray already does.
To date, I certainly haven’t heard anything that would make me even consider changing my position on Ron. It is clear that, even without the benefit of Mr. Gray also having repeated guest columns in the Coastal Point, as the incumbent candidate, his record and actions in the state capital alone speak volumes for themselves and we all should continue to support and value his services for us there.
George H. Miles
Editor’s note: The Coastal Point welcomes guest columns by all local candidates and officials, though we reserve the right to edit as needed to comply with our editorial standards, and may choose not to run columns that we feel do not contribute to the community dialogue or that we do not have sufficient space to run. Meghan Kelly has submitted a series of guest columns, most of which we have run — but, to date, we have not received any guest column submissions from any other candidates in the current election cycle. (And, as always, we stop running letters-to-the-editor regarding elections at least one issue prior that election, to allow the candidates to have the final say.)