LETTER TO EDITOR: Chalotte Pritt Condemns Blocking of Sen. Sanders Welch Rally

Updated 2 years ago Special to HuntingtonNews.Net

by Charlotte Pritt, former WV Candidate for Governor:

I have to confess that I am really steaming today! And it is not from a yummy cup of hot chocolate!

I have been trying to get to the bottom of the embarrassing refusal of the highest ranking US Senator of Veterans Affairs Committee, US Senator Bernie Sanders from holding a town hall meeting in a WV National Armory!!!

There are a number of things that are out of compliance but it isn't Senator Sanders proposed use of the Armory.

1. The cancellation took place Friday---too late to find a new venue for a Monday Morning town hall meeting in McDowell.

There are few places left in McDowell where such a meeting could be held other than the Armory---perhaps the High School but school is in session on Monday Mornings!

2. The reason given for cancelling the Town Hall Meeting was a "guidance policy" NOT a LAW not even a REGULATION but a "guidance policy" that supposedly existed at the DOD which suggested that political events even a Town Hall Meeting (which is actually one of the few times citizens get a chance to participate in democracy because it is a question and answer session on the issues)if it is political should not be held in Armories.

In discussion with General Gilliam at the WV National Guard he stated that when someone from MSNBC asked what party affiliation the attendees were that made it political. Asking questions about the audience is actually called getting the demographics of the audience. It is done to make certain that you are not getting a skewed response. That the attendees are a broad based representation of the population of McDowell!

It is common for focus groups or reporters to get the demographics of a group (the make-up of the audience). The entire world is curious about the people of WV because of their voting overwhelmingly for Bernie in the primary and then Trump in the general.

3. Even if this "guidance policy" which obviously is discretionary ( meaning that the WV National Guard could choose to follow it or not because it was reported that Trump the candidate had a fundraiser in a New Jersey Armory during the election cycle of 2016!!!) were in place, to call a Town Hall meeting after the election political because the hosting agency wants a cross section of McDowell residents or wants to know the demographics of the audience is not only ludicrous but insulting to the intelligence of our citizens!

4. When I spoke with General Gilliam spokesperson for the WV National Guard on this issue, I asked him to email a copy of the "guidance policy" because as a former law maker I know that legally there is a world of difference in the legality of an action depending on the language of the "guidance policy." He refused! He told me that I would have to FOIA it!! To get a freedom of information act (FOIA) costs money!

5. My question to General Hoyer and the WV National Guard is this: If the guidance policy is clear proof that you took appropriate action why would you not simply email the "guidance policy" to enquiring citizens?

6. I give the WV National Guard A+++ for their handling of the flood disaster in WV and I know that General Hoyer and I feel certain that General Gilliam are honorable men but their taking away the free speech of McDowell Co. Citizens and the free speech of the ranking Senator on US Veterans Affairs Committee strikes at the very heart of a democratic republic! The basic tenet of any democracy is freedom of speech!!!

This politically motivated silencing of United States of American Citizens and the citizens of WV should not be tolerated!!!

The hypocrisy of fighting wars for democracy abroad and stopping democracy at home should be cause for alarm for any freedom loving American!

Governor Justice and the WV National Guard owe the people of WV, US Senator Bernie Sanders, and the people of America a public apology for their assault on democracy and its basic tenet---freedom of speech!

Comments powered by Disqus