Defacing democracy
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.

We proudly support President Barack Obama. Some cannot tolerate this.

Someone kicked our Obama yard sign so hard that the stick broke and the sign flew 20 feet. Another person defaced our car's Obama bumper sticker.

Another time this note was left on our windshield: "Some knucklehead vandalized your car by putting an Obama sticker on it. I thought you should know so you don't drive around looking like an idiot." Signed, "Good Samaritan."

Some call these silly pranks. They are intolerant and un-American.

America's election process is an example for the world. However, free elections cannot occur without free speech. As the Department of State's "Principles of Democracy" says, a "literate, knowledgeable citizenry" with diverse views increases "the likelihood of a peaceful transfer of power."

Albert Einstein wrote that "laws alone cannot secure freedom of expression; in order that every man may present his views without penalty there must be a spirit of tolerance in the entire population."

Vandalism and angry notes do not evidence tolerance, but ignorance. President John F. Kennedy warned: "The ignorance of one voter … impairs the security of all."

Christine and John Soltis

Salt Lake City