I am writing in response to an article that appeared in The Plain Dealer on Saturday, Sept. 25 regarding the recent “Save America Freedom Rally.”

I am deeply saddened that so much disinformation has poisoned the well of our political discourse and turned neighbor against neighbor in communities across the United States. So many lies from right-wing politicians and “infotainment” radio and cable television personalities have turned a significant swath of Americans away from things that most of us – regardless of party affiliation – used to agree on: science, medicine, education, concern for other people during a public health crisis and, most importantly, democracy itself.

l ask every person reading this to pay attention to the corrosive effects of this disinformation on our country. Our society is broken. The government in which President Biden inherited is broken. As proof, look no further than the insurrection and attempted coup at our nation’s Capitol on Jan. 6 and its attempt to overturn the results of a free and fair election simply because the insurrectionists did not like the results. They came dangerously close to succeeding.

The 45th president did not create the divisions from which this country suffers, but he did exploit long-percolating bigotries and unfounded grievances. He did great harm to this country. He commandeered a political party and turned it into a cult. He left much destruction – and yes, death – in his wake.

As heartsick as I am about where we are as a nation, I still believe that most of us – regardless of political affiliation – are good people, trying to do the best we can each day, people who are sincere when they say they love this country.

I am reminded of my grandparents’ generation – the Greatest Generation, as they are called. When faced with the threat of fascism and authoritarianism, they did not say, “I’m free. I’ll do what I damned well want to.” Instead, they made sacrifices – some small but many very great. They understood that freedom isn’t free. They were motivated by a sense of duty to protect the well-being and security of other Americans and preserve democracy for their children and grandchildren.

They wouldn’t have whined about wearing a mask or getting a shot to protect other people from a deadly virus. They recognized that being an American and a patriot means caring about the greater good, something that is more important than ourselves. The elected officials in attendance at this rally

are not patriots, but rather the opposite. They are completely obsessed with radical right-wing propaganda, wrapped around Trump in a cult-like mentality.

Please respect the health and safety of people around you and get a COVID-19 vaccination. They are free and safe and they will help protect you and the people around you from hospitalization and death.

And please consider your sources for news. Trust your common sense and rely on factual, documented, and data-driven information. One plus one still equals two, regardless of what Tucker Carlson and Newsmax tell you.

It’s OK if we don’t agree on everything – that’s healthy and there’s nothing more American than a spirited, but friendly, debate of the issues. But please ask yourselves “What kind of country do I want to leave my children?” and then act accordingly.

Not only are these sorely misguided elected officials of the local Republican party leadership "rogue," but they are fanatics way outside of the mainstream of their party. I would ask that all the officials who spoke at this "rally" resign their respective positions, They have failed the very people they were elected to represent. No longer can they call themselves pro-life when they are making it clear they do not care about yours.

We can do so much better than this.

Chad Harris

Wabash County Democratic Party Chair