Sign buyer had a right to his opinion


Sir: This letter is in response to the article “Gay-slamming sign draws ire” in the Aug. 30 Chatham Voice, and in particular in reply to Marianne Wilson’s and Coun. Brock McGregor’s remarks within it.

As with all opinions, including those expressed by Marianne Wilson, Brock McGregor and yes, even Ralph Baker who erected the sign, there is less truth and more hyperbole and positioning than anything else. First, the sign doesn’t “attack” the municipality or the LGBTQ+ community at all. It doesn’t set out to destroy, severely criticize, or set upon in a hostile or forceful way (the definitions of attack); it states an opinion, a perspective held by Mr. Baker.

Nor is this a hateful message as Mr. McGregor states in his comments. Again, it is opinion. Mr. McGregor even tries to tie it to “hate speech,” saying while not a legal expert, he thinks “that the message is hateful.” This is disingenuous political posturing at its best and while he may not like the opinion expressed, that’s no reason to use hyperbole which itself tends to create discord, divisiveness and conflict.

It is interesting that as I was writing this letter, Mr. McGregor came by the house politicking for his re-election. By appearances, Mr. McGregor is almost half my age and therefore what is considered a “millennial.” I wonder if this new millennial culture of easily being offended, crying to the government to do something about it (much as we used to do with our moms when little, or not so little), and invalidating singular opinions and thoughts has any bearing on what he said.

I was brought up to respect any and all peoples, regardless of sex, race, ethnicity, etc. What mattered was whether the person was a good person or not. That’s all. We respected people’s opinions, even if we didn’t agree with them. This also included how that opinion might be communicated. Further, the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms guarantees us the right of opinion and the expression of that opinion, within the limits set by a free and democratic people. I don’t believe Mr. Baker’s sign transgressed that limit.

If we don’t watch it, we will become a culture of the lowest common denominator. That is the end result of electing government as sole director of one’s life as they can only govern by regulation, not by rationality. That comes from the individual, from simply being responsible for oneself and one’s actions in life.

Orwell, Huxley and Wells must all be turning over in their graves. Perhaps Twain as well.

As SG Tallentyre remarked when speaking of Voltaire in The Friends of Voltaire, suggesting this was Voltaire’s mindset at the time, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” Has this now passed into obscurity as well?

Wither have we gone; and what have we become?

Chris Black








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