In the 125 years The Arizona Republic has existed, they have never endorsed a Democratic candidate… until now. In a decision that expressed national welfare as more important than petty partisanship, the long-time conservative newspaper shocked their readership by endorsing Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton for President of the United States.
Needless to say, their decision wasn’t totally met with support and cheers. It pissed a lot of people off, some to the point where comments such as these were considered appropriate means by which to express their discontent:
“You’re dead. Watch your back.”
“We wil burn you down.”
“You should be put in front of a firing squad as a traitor.”
Wow, harsh. Then again, Donald Trump has devoted much of the last year not only demonizing Hillary Clinton and his other political rivals, but also lobbying threats against the media for telling the truth about him. It makes sense potential Trump voters would take issue.
But comments such as these are deserving of a response from the publication on the receiving end and a response is what those dregs received. But instead of dipping down to the neanderthalean level from where the threats leveled against them emerged, The Arizona Republic’s President and Publisher Mi-Ai Parrish crafted an eloquent response to the hatred her newspaper has received over the past two weeks.
On the decision to endorse Hillary Clinton:
“We made our choice soberly. We knew it would be unpopular with many people. We knew that, although we had clearly stated our objections to Trump, it would be a big deal for a conservative editorial board in a conservative state to break ranks from the party.
We chose patriotism over party. We endorsed the Democrat.”
Parrish’s response went through a variety of the threats the newspaper received following the endorsement, humanizing both their rhetorical assailants and people on the staff who were severely affected by these impulsive, vile threats. Here’s an excerpt:
“To the anonymous caller who invoked the name of Don Bolles — he’s the Republic reporter who was assassinated by a car bomb 40 years ago — and threatened that more of our reporters would be blown up because of the endorsement, I give you Kimberly. She is the young woman who answered the phone when you called. She sat in my office and calmly told three Phoenix police detectives what you had said. She told them that later, she walked to church and prayed for you. Prayed for patience, for forgiveness. Kimberly knows free speech requires compassion.”
The entire article is like that — a compassionate and sobering response to people whose actions exemplify a presidential campaign the newspaper could not support. This response doesn’t meet hate with hate (in other words, it isn’t a Trumpean response to Trumpean threats), but instead takes the moral, and constitutional, high ground.
It’s a beautiful crafted rebuttal to cancerous rhetoric thrown their way. It can be read, in full, here.