Editor, This is a reply of sorts to last week’s letter to the editor, but more so a general response.
I’m one of the elected officials who chose to participate in the peaceful protest of the recent grand-jury decisions in Ferguson, Missouri, and New York City. Please let the record reflect that I, along with several others, did so under the First Amendment: Freedom to Assembly, which states: “The right to assemble or gather peacefully is a political right that the Founders considered vital to ensuring justice in government. Assembling peacefully demands that citizens obey laws and act with consideration and respect.”
Marching in protest is as American as it gets. My fellow elected officials — as well as the non-elected officials who protested in Hinesville that day and the people throughout America who continue to protest today — do so under the laws that govern this country. Being an elected official does not preclude me from participating in demonstrations as long as I abide by these governing laws. Also, elected officials are governed by a code of ethics, and nowhere in this code is it written that one is elected to support government actions to include court decisions.
The small gathering was due, in part, to the fact that only a few individuals were invited via social media, but although few in number, it’s obvious the event had an impact locally, demographics notwithstanding.
In closing, as Americans we’re all entitled to our opinions, so those who disagree can rightfully and peacefully do so in an assembly of their own organizing or in editorials. Being that we’re all responsible for our actions, I would participate again tomorrow if my schedule allowed.
— Gary Gilliard