Southold Town Supervisor Scott Russell, a Republican, and Suffolk County Legislator Al Krupski of Cutchogue, a Democrat and former member of the Southold Town Board, are urging Southolders to respect political signs popping up throughout town, and to attempt to show compassion for their neighbors’ varied political beliefs.
The two lawmakers issued the following joint statement on Friday, Aug. 28:
“The removal of political signs is an act aimed at suppressing free speech, a right which we as Americans cherish, and one protected by the First Amendment of the United States Constitution. Suppression of free speech is unpatriotic and will not be tolerated in our community.
This year brought a number of challenges to Southold Town, not the least of which is the coronavirus pandemic. Individuals and families grapple with a new reality. Older residents may be experiencing loneliness and isolation, and many local businesses are struggling to remain viable. Some have lost jobs. Parents are dealing with the uncertainties of sending their children back to school, whether it is in person, virtually or both, worrying not only about their education and physical safety, but their mental health and need for socialization as well.
We are also coping with increased numbers of visitors to our community, those who come here to find solace at our beaches and parks, but by virtue of their sheer numbers, stress these fragile natural resources beyond their capacity, and often try our patience.
And regardless of your political beliefs, we are facing an extremely contentious national election, one which threatens to divide our community to the detriment of all of us. There is no need to bring any divisiveness into our community.
This is a time, as we face so many stresses and tensions are high, when it is vitally important for all of us to be tolerant of one another, and of opinions and beliefs that differ from our own. These are the founding principles of our nation. This means respecting freedom of speech and property, whether the speech is in the form of a written or spoken word, or the property is a political sign on your neighbor’s lawn.
We call on all Southold residents to practice tolerance, and perhaps compassion. We all must strive to find our best selves during these trying times. Please, exercise your right to free speech, but respect everyone else’s right to do so.”