Political attacks take focus off real issues

The following letter appeared in local newspapers and is shared with us here by the author Tom Penhallow.


The people of Charlestown are incredibly fortunate to live in one of the most beautiful areas, and not just of Rhode Island, but the entire country.

Yet, every two years, our bucolic home is upended by staggeringly vitriolic and unproductive dialogue. Seeds of discontent are sowed, our communities divide and the real issues are overshadowed by acrimony and personal attacks. The truly sad part is that some have come to accept this bitterness as normal, as business as usual.

Will Collette, the instigator of our local Internet hate blog, “Progressive Charlestown”, and his wife, Catherine Collette, chair of the Charlestown Democratic Party, direct the campaigns of our sitting House District 36 representative, Donna Walsh, and the Charlestown Democratic Town Council candidates, Paula Andersen, Brandon Cleary, and Ronald Russo — but no one bats an eye!

Personal attacks and caricatures of those who dedicate their time to public service are promoted as legitimate political discourse. Venom-filled letters to the editor ply the pages of our community newspapers and overshadow debate on critical issues.

This is not normal, it is completely unacceptable, and it needs to stop. Our communities and our state face incredible challenges, and we must focus on the issues that affect our lives, families, environment and pocketbooks.

How are we going to create jobs and reduce the cost of living so our youth and seniors do not leave their families for greener pastures out of state? How are we going to stop the corruption rife within our state? How are we going to preserve the environment and our way of life? How are we going to educate the next generation? These are the issues that matter, and are what we must focus our energies on. We have one week until Election Day. Let’s keep it focused, let’s keep it clean, and let’s remember that when the dust settles, we will still have each other’s backs.

Thomas S. Penhallow

Charlestown