Andy Harris no fan of democracy, free speech

I was in attendance at the town hall conducted by Rep. Andy Harris in Carroll County on March 28 where we lowly souls who disagreed with him were quickly and repetitively lectured on our “rudeness” and small-mindedness whenever we attempted to counter his boldfaced lies and exercise our First Amendment right to speak (“Downtown Baltimore is risky, ‘dangerous,’ Rep. Andy Harris says in town hall meeting,” March 29). In typical Orwellian fashion, the 1st District Republican lectured us on the importance of the First Amendment whenever “We the People” interrupted his barrage of talking points and untruths to get a word in edgewise and express our views and concerns.

Most brazenly, the congressman told a 15-year-old high school student — who had the microphone and was expressing her own and her classmates’ deep concern and fear about the possibility of a school shooting, and who had come prepared with a survey of over a hundred of her classmates regarding what policies they thought would reduce mass shootings — that she couldn’t dare demand that he focus on gun safety. Instead, she was told to go home and “write a report, like in school.”

This extreme condescension and disregard for the concerns or even legitimacy of his constituents repeated itself throughout the town hall from beginning to end. It raises real concerns about his respect for democracy itself. According to the Constitution, the premise of democracy and our system of government is accountability to the people. What happens when an elected representative feels so little respect for those whom he ostensibly represents that the pillars of democracy become illegitimate and his reality absolute truth?

Alison Kinney, Port Deposit

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