Freedom of speech is in jeopardy

Freedom of speech is in jeopardy

Hearst Connecticut Media Letter to the Editor graphic 

Hearst Connecticut Media Letter to the Editor graphic 

Contributed photo

It is election season and now is the time that people begin to express support for their preferred Local, State and Federal candidates.  Individuals have traditionally done this by way of lawn signs in front of their homes and candidates soliciting businesses to hold fundraisers.  This has been a time honored tradition that has, until recently, been respected and accepted.  I say recently because over the course of the last few election cycles, I have noticed a very alarming trend in our local community.   

Over the past week, 3 local Ridgefield businesses have been pressured into removing lawn signs in support of candidates. As reported in an October 6th NewsTimes article, one candidate’s political signs in Danbury have been vandalized in what appears to be “targeted” attacks where adjacent candidate signs were untouched.  In 2019 at least 3 businesses received threatening phone calls after candidates hosted events at their establishments. The common thread in all of these cases is that the signs and businesses being targeted were all supporting Republican candidates.   

What we are seeing is going well beyond the occasional lawn sign that has gone missing, or the sandwiching of lawn signs by an opponent which I personally have experienced in my own run for elected office in the past.  These are usually attributed to childish mischief which, while annoying, we have come to expect.  What this represents is the attempt, by some, to silence the First Amendment free speech rights of their neighbors by threatening their livelihood and showing intolerance to the individual difference of opinion of others.  This is not the Compassionate Ridgefield that we are all asked to emulate to our friends, neighbors and children.  I hope that we can find more tolerance our differences in the future. 

Mike Raduazzo 

Chair – Ridgefield RTC