An Open Letter to Joe Mullins
By Chris Goodfellow
One of the great things about American democracy is that we all can have and express our political opinions freely, associate with like minded individuals and run for public office.
However, when we assume public office, whether it be the humble position of County Commissioner or that of President of the United States, implicit in assumption of office is that we are entrusted to execute the duties of that office on behalf of all citizens, whether they be of your political suasion or not. This is the basic trust of democracy that must never be shattered. Democracy is about fair play, not willful oppression, lies, fraud and perhaps worst of all in today’s context–intimidation.
There is no doubt you hold very strong opinions for our current president, and you are entitled to do so. But I am somewhat concerned when as a sitting Flagler County Commissioner you would make such statements as “Flagler County is a Trump County. Love it or Leave.” Irrespective of whether it is made on your own private Facebook page, a comment in local paper or on a county website, I want to remind you as a commissioner, anything you say or do has impact beyond your actions as a private citizen.
Implicit in your statements is that others of a different political suasion are not welcome in Flagler. You clearly touched a very sensitive nerve in the community by eliciting, as of this morning, over 300 comments.
I do not know you, your character or past associations and affiliations beyond thanking you a couple of weeks ago on Facebook for getting the bike path out here in the Hammock cleaned up, which demonstrated your goodwill and concern for getting things done in the county.
I would not have bothered to comment or engage you today except that the subsequent comments about chartering busses–or worse, trains–to remove all so-called liberals out of Flagler was again uncalled for, and brought to my mind, and I am sure to the the mind of others, a different period of history where certain people were loaded onto cattle cars and banished.
Was this just braggadocio banter or perhaps a revealing Freudian slip on your part? Because in either case it was a reprehensible comment coming from you, because of its historical connotations. I am sure you can understand my concern, and I think as a commissioner you need to make it very clear.
There are great people on both sides of the political divide here. There are whites, blacks, Latinos, Asians and others, all of whom are good citizens. There are moreover veterans on both sides of the political divide, and you are certainly not going to run them out of town. In fact no one is going to be run out of town or invited to leave. You know why?
Flagler is an American County.
Chris Goodfellow, a retired pilot, is a resident of the Hammock.