In response to Jenna Russell’s letter on the lack of tolerance she has felt in Oak Park, as evidenced by the theft of her Romney yard sign [Don’t talk tolerant, act tolerant, Viewpoints, Oct.3], I would like to suggest that she has a point, though she has vastly overreacted, in my view.

Jenna, there is ignorance in every community, whether it be Oak Park or Naperville, and I would hope you would use this act of vandalism as a teachable moment for your children. One or more people behaved badly toward you, but it was not “the village of Oak Park” nor its many residents that destroyed your sign.

My husband and I used to live near the famous anti-ObamaCare sign on the corner of Jackson Boulevard and Grove Avenues, and we found it provocative and offensive. Then it became personal, when our 4-year-old grandniece developed kidney cancer and had to face the prospect of a life with no health insurance as one of the “pre-existing” people in our culture. Yet while we disliked this sign, we did not destroy it. We are part of a community and recognize that people have the right to state their beliefs, whether we agree with them or not.

I disagree that we have “political thuggery” in Oak Park, and your description of our community as one that “all too often sanctions such bigotry” is far from the truth. I think the real problem here is that you are a minority voice in our community, and that is never a comfortable place to be. But using the term “bigotry” in this case is inflammatory and inaccurate. If we were actively bigoted, Republicans would be sitting in the back of the bus and would be going to separate schools.

I find it interesting that you say you would “never consider interfering with another’s right to choice: be it regarding a womb, a marriage, or a political ideology.” I think many people would say that the Republican standard bearer does not share your views on these points, and it makes me wonder why you are supporting such a candidate. That would be worth listening to!

I would welcome a call from you (708-383-2035) and a chance to sit down over a cup of coffee and just talk. Please let me hear from you!

Janet Haisman

Oak Park

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