Sunday, October 16, 2016

The Paper Trail

The Arizona Republic recently endorsed Hillary Clinton for president, and the response from Trump supporters has been nothing short of death threats against the paper and its supporters for doing so. The paper's publisher and president, Mi-Ai Parrish, responds to the community about the threats made against the paper and herself, specifically:
To those of you who have said Jesus will judge me, that you hope I burn in hell, that non-Christians should be kept out of our country, I give you my pastor grandfather. He was imprisoned and tortured for being a Christian, and suffered the murder of his best friend for also refusing to deny Christ. He taught all that freedom of religion is a fragile and precious thing.

Much as my grandfather taught, I also know there are a lot of things worth standing up for.

To those of you who said we should go live with the immigrants we love so much, and who threatened violence against people who look or speak a different way, I give you Jobe Couch.

He was the Army cultural attache and Alabama professor who sponsored my aunts and my mother when they arrived in America from Korea after World War II. There are dozens of descendants of his kindness. Citizens with college degrees, a dentist, lawyers, engineers, pastors, teachers, business owners, a Marine, a publisher and more. Uncle Jobe stood for the power of America as a melting pot. He taught me that one kind man can make a difference.

To all the other people who we heard from, who thanked us for our courage and our bravery, or who were bold enough to disagree with us on principle — the people who didn’t threaten to bomb our homes or harm our families — I have something for you, too. To you, I give my gratitude. I’m grateful that you stood up to say that we live in a better world when we exchange ideas freely, fairly, without fear.

To all of you who asked why we endorsed — or what right we had to do so — I give you my mother. She grew up under an occupying dictatorship, with no right to an education, no free press, no freedom of religion, no freedom to assemble peaceably, no right to vote. No right to free speech. She raised a journalist who understood not to take these rights for granted.

Don Bolles and Nina Pulliam are gone now, and Uncle Jobe is, too.

But the journalists I introduced you to here walk into the newsroom every day to do their jobs.

When they do, they pass by an inscription that fills an entire wall, floor to ceiling. It is 45 words long. It is an idea that is in my thoughts a lot these days.

It is the First Amendment.

For those of you playing at home, the First Amendment says this:

Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.

It's held up for quite some time, frankly.  And it has because of people like Mi-An Parrish.  By the way, Don Bolles, the Republic reporter that Parrish referenced?  Killed by a car bomb 40 years ago for what many believed was for following a story on organized crime.

Violence against the media in America is nothing new, folks.  But a presidential candidate and his supporters openly calling for it over an endorsement of a political opponent?  That's pretty much beyond the pale, even for this country's bloody history.

No comments:

Related Posts with Thumbnails