Letter: Barrington — what happened to free speech?

Posted 4/14/21

To the editor:

Out of curiosity, I examined the Town of Barrington Charter recently. I was wondering what I was missing in the job descriptions, since for the past year both our Town Council and …

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Letter: Barrington — what happened to free speech?

Posted

To the editor:

Out of curiosity, I examined the Town of Barrington Charter recently. I was wondering what I was missing in the job descriptions, since for the past year both our Town Council and Town Manager have shown through their actions that the most important aspect of their positions is to promote what they believe are Barrington’s values, and indoctrinate us with them.

I know indoctrinate is a strong word, but it fits. They decided that various causes, as they stated,“reflect the values of our town” and went about forcing those values upon all of us. They hoisted banners and when they received push back on that, they simply drew up a policy that forced those values upon us.

Barrington is not a place to live right now if you believe in the First Amendment of the Constitution because here your free speech will only be shared by the town if they agree with it. Without the approval of one of the Town Council members or the Town Manager, your “values” will get nowhere. They, and only they, decide what the values of Barrington are. That doesn’t sound like free speech. Frankly, it doesn’t sound like America.

In the past few weeks there was yet another example of the power grab that has been going on in town for the past year. You may have seen hundreds of red flags on the Town Hall lawn, protesting the de-leveling of courses at the High School. I have no problem with citizens protesting policies that they do not approve of. I encourage it.  But the flags were allowed to be put there and allowed to stay for 2 weeks at the approval of the Town Manager. This is just another example of how six people decide what thoughts are allowed to be shared in this town, and what thoughts are not.

If you are not concerned yet about the freedoms we have always taken for granted as Americans, you ought to be. The Town Hall is still locked down except by appointment, our Financial Town Meeting is likely virtual again, and no meetings are held publicly, still. Only a few people get to decide what “values” represent Barrington and if you don’t think they are trying to indoctrinate you, here is one more clue.

On April 26, 2021, an advocate of Critical Race Theory, Ibram X. Kendi, under the auspices of the Barrington Public Library, the DEI consultant, and Councilman Brier, will make a presentation about race. The premise of Critical Race Theory is divisive and its leading proponent Mr. Kendi is as well. He is not looking for an exchange of thoughts, he is here to tell you how wrong you are and how racist you are.

If the DEI truly wanted to have a dialogue about race, they would have invited more than one point of view to discuss it. Professor Wilfred Reilly, an African American who does not believe that race is the prism by which to judge every action, would have been a perfect counterpoint and led to a true dialogue. But dialogue is not what this current group wants. They want to tell you what you should believe and if you don’t you are wrong or racist or homophobic or misogynistic.

It is time for our town leaders to focus on their duties as outlined in the Charter, which are overwhelmingly related to governance of the town, not reshaping values. And if we are going to have substantive discussions about topics like race, let the discussions be balanced so that those interested in participating can hear more than one point of view and make up their own minds which points are more valid.  Even better yet, as in all real dialogues, they may take away the good from each side of the discussion. That is how we grow and bring ourselves and our society to a better place.

Mary Teixeira

Barrington

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