During last Monday’s Island County Commissioners meeting a friend of mine was blatantly and baldly referred to as a “Nazi” and told to “shut up” and “go to hell.”
My friend is a retired audiologist, an expert on the topic of hearing loss and excessive noise. She is also a voting, tax paying, community involved, contributing resident of Island County who was, in fact, born in Germany and suffered through the years of World War II under Hitler’s Nazi regime.
Her parents brought her here to the United States to offer her a better life. She is a naturalized citizen of our country. She had to pass a test and take an oath to become a citizen and is keenly aware of the opportunities, and rights, this country affords all of its citizenry.
She was present at a public meeting during a public comment period to express her right to oppose language in a proposed resolution being brought forward by one of our Island County Commissioners and to encourage the commissioners to withhold the resolution from their agenda, or amend it to be less divisive.
The man that used the slur to describe my friend was and is aware of her ethnic background and chose to utter that slur purposefully.
The man in question is one of the most vocal opponents to the cessation of touch and go flights by the EA-18 Growlers at the Coupeville Outlying Field. He does not, however, live, work, vote or pay taxes in Island County, yet was given an opportunity to voice his opinion even after slandering my friend.
Perhaps this man was taking a cue from one of our commissioners who decided to show up for work in a public forum, representing the taxpayers of Island County, wearing jeans and a tee shirt that proclaimed, “I Love (heart sign) Jet Noise.”
It was quite obvious the resolution was going to stay on the agenda and just as obvious that it would be made official without amendment, despite the public comment.
Outdated, misleading and incomplete information formatted in the form of a legal resolution does not make that information more factual or more true.
The promotion of that information to legal status is reckless, divisive and shows a lack of leadership and an unwillingness to listen.
All sides in this issue have points worth discussing with the Navy, with our elected officials and, yes, with one another.
Name calling and slanderous outbursts are not the way to resolve or solve any of these issues.
There are times and places for almost anything. There is never a good time to call a survivor of Hitler’s Germany a “Nazi,” let alone in a public forum.
My friend deserves an apology in a public forum and the citizens of Island County and Central Whidbey deserve a higher level of leadership and respect.
Name calling just won’t do it.