LETTER: Obscene political discourse is shameful, but so is censorship

To Ozaukee Press:

     Your editorial advocating political censorship, “Political hatred is not a fit theme for a County Fair exhibit,” is wrong.

     The Ozaukee County Fair is a public forum protected by the First Amendment. Yet you propose using its exhibitor rules and regulations restricting “the sale or distribution of any item deemed as inappropriate, “to censor what a T-shirt vendor can and cannot say about certain politicians. Do you really want government arbiters of good-think suppressing whatever speech they have “deemed inappropriate?” Thankfully, our Constitution protects us from such an abuse of power.

     At the same time, the County Fair story illustrates how our political discourse has shamefully degenerated into obscenity and personal insult. As one end of the spectrum, we have T-shirt slogans calling the vice president a prostitute and at the other we have opponents yelling vulgarities at Supreme Court justices. When debate devolves into nothing more than name-calling, we no longer have meaningful communication and can never find common ground.

     Nevertheless, the answer to hateful rhetoric is not censorship, it is bold and thoughtful reply. If you do not like what someone says, publicly challenge their opinions. Engage in debate. Prove them wrong. But do not censor their voice.

Kurt Benkley

Port Washington


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Ozaukee Press

Wisconsin’s largest paid circulation community weekly newspaper. Serving Port Washington, Saukville, Grafton, Fredonia, Belgium, as well as Ozaukee County government. Locally owned and printed in Port Washington, Wisconsin.

125 E. Main St.
Port Washington, WI 53074
(262) 284-3494


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