5/28/2013 1:05:00 PM Letter: Thorpe’s careless words create a target
Rep. Bob Thorpe of Legislative District 6 is proving quite a handful for the 2013 Arizona Legislature, isn’t he? Just recently he advocated “firing shots into the air” during a committee meeting and then pointedly referred to a specific individual -- by name -- to target. Now he has singled out five representatives from his own party - again by name - because he fears they will vote to support the governor’s plan to accept Medicaid expansion!
To quote from Mr. Thorpe’s email, “If you are ever asked why you shot the person, the only answer from your lips should be, I felt my life, or/and my family’s life was in immediate danger of death. So I did what I had to do in order to eliminate this threat.” Sometimes such vitriol has consequences. This is one of those times. As a result of Mr. Thorpe’s careless words, the people named in his original email are on the receiving end of hateful, vulgar, threatening phone calls and emails from riled up constituents.
Is this any way to run a government?
House Speaker Andy Tobin called Mr. Thorpe on the carpet for his careless message. Mr. Thorpe immediately apologized to those whose names he broadcast by naming them again in his watery apology, sealing those names forever in the minds of misguided constituents!
Surely our elected representatives can speak on behalf of their constituents without smearing those who disagree. Certainly our legislators can work toward resolution of contentious issues without targeting individuals as scapegoats for frustration.
The political climate in Arizona is really sensitive of late. Tempers flare over even inconsequential issues. Citizens are becoming political hermits, fearful they may say the wrong thing to the wrong person. Political debate no longer happens among neighbors or even within families because we don’t want Uncle Floyd, who has lots of weaponry, to boil over. Disagreeing on an education bill or Medicaid could lead to threats on one’s life; disagreeing on immigration reform could lead to bloodshed. Speaking your mind on the floor of the Legislature could earn you nasty threats and chilling comments.
Mr. Thorpe likes to present himself as an educated, note-worthy man, an individual who supports strong individualism free of governmental restraint. He fails to grasp the central idea of community in that what an individual does can and will affect his neighbors. Mr. Thorpe embodies all that is wrong with our Arizona Legislature and, on a larger scale, in the halls of United States Congress.