October 17, 2002
Last week I read an account of a recent Pitkin County commissioners meeting at which Tom Turnbull left the meeting after shoving a chair and calling Mick Ireland a “son of a bitch.”
It seems to me that the public expects an unending supply of patience and perfect behavior from our politicians, with no such expectation of reciprocal behavior on the part of the citizenry. I have read in the paper the accounts of screaming, shouting, swearing, etc., that all of our politicians have had to endure at one time or another.
It doesn’t matter whether I agree with our local elected officials politically or not, I feel ashamed at witnessing what appears to have become an accepted norm on the part of some of our citizens when they attend meetings.
I’d like to thank our city and county politicians for what must be, at times, a very difficult task. I wonder how well most of us would stand up to the abuse that our public servants are treated to. I wonder how we might react to the verbal abuse, the personal attacks, even death threats.
How might we feel about receiving threats directed at our loved ones? I think most of us couldn’t handle that. I know I couldn’t, and I thank Mick Ireland and whoever else has been subjected to that kind of behavior for persevering in their efforts in the name of public service.
By the way, Mr. Turnbull, the woman you referred to as a “bitch” for the crime of being Mick Ireland’s mother died last year. She was not a bitch, but she was my mother and his. I am proud to be his sister and her daughter.
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