Knox County Democratic and Republican Party Chairs
Make a Joint Statement on Civility.
Meg Galipault and Thom Collier
“We are not enemies, but friends. We must not be enemies. Though passion may have strained, it must not break our bonds of affection.” Those powerful words were spoken by our most revered president, Abraham Lincoln, a Republican, in his first inaugural address. Lincoln was imploring the nation’s citizens to take the path of civility and not civil war. These words reverberate today.
In recent weeks, protests have devolved into violence, justice has been taken by vigilantism. The majority of Americans want neither. They don’t want to see black men killed by police and they don’t want riots to replace peaceful protest. But mean rhetoric can raise temperatures, lead to conflict, and have no outlet for resolution.
Meg Galipault, Chairperson of the Knox County Democratic Party and Thom Collier, Chairman of the Knox County Republican Party, came together to issue a joint statement to encourage civility during this presidential election season.
As representatives of our local parties, Democratic and Republican, we are urging our neighbors to conduct themselves with civility. We are not that different from one another: we shop together at Lannings, Kroger, and WalMart, we walk our dogs side-by-side at Wolf Run, we share ice cream, weed our gardens across the fence, watch sporting events together, and we all stand in line at the BMV.
Words and actions can separate us. Fortunately, they are just words right now. Words and actions can just as easily heal and unite us. The neighbor with the Biden sign or Trump sign is still your neighbor. We are fortunate to live in a country that is represented by different ideas, cultures, opinions, and visions. History has proven when we share ideas, we come up with solutions.
As we enter this presidential election season, we know emotions run high but we ask that you respect each other’s opinions. Have a conversation instead of an argument on social media. Find common ground. State your position without condemning others. We hope that other community leaders will join us in modeling civility, from public forums, to church sermons, to sports venues. Let’s show how Knox County can get along, despite political differences.
Don’t steal or damage political signs or property. “Don’t disrespect others. Freedom of speech belongs to all of us,” said Galipault.
Collier added, “The civility we show our neighbor reinforces the power of our argument.”
The two political party leaders agree that the best way to advocate your beliefs is through voting. It is your right, your responsibility, and a privilege we all enjoy. They encouraged community members to vote. Contact the Board of Elections at 740-393-6716 if you aren’t registered. Then, research the candidates, learn about their positions, and put your energy toward volunteering in the community instead of railing against those with opposing views.
Above all, be kind to each other. In the words of John F. Kennedy, “So let us begin anew…remembering on both sides that civility is not a sign of weakness, and sincerity is always subject to proof…Let both sides explore what problems unite us instead of belaboring those problems which divide us.”
Both parties have headquarters for the campaign season. The locations allow the community to gather information on candidates, pick up signs, and to sign up as volunteers. The Republican headquarters is located at 136 S Main St. and the Democratic headquarters is located at 9 E Vine St., both in Mount Vernon.