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Steve Ahlquist is an award-winning journalist, writer, artist and founding member of the Humanists of Rhode Island, a non-profit group dedicated to reason, compassion, optimism, courage and action. The views expressed are his own and not necessarily those of any organization of which he is a member.

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"We must take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” - Elie Weisel

“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor." - Desmond Tutu

"There comes a time when neutrality and laying low become dishonorable. If you’re not in revolt, you’re in cahoots. When this period and your name are mentioned, decades hence, your grandkids will look away in shame." - David Brooks

2 responses to “Smithfield Street Named For Klansman Stays Same”

  1. leftyrite

    A reasonably good outcome, I’d say. The rationale: “We now see this street as one named for a family that has long been settled here,” is a heck of a lot better than, “We don’t care that he was a klansman.”

    It’s a progressive step in the right direction. Good work, Roger Schenk, Town Manager Finlay, and Steve.

    You pointed out that flaw and raised consciousness in doing so.

    Poor Roger Williams.    Fortunately, he’ll never know that a klavern was named for him. At any rate, most of us have the brains to make the mental distinction, and those who don’t need a bit more work, anyway. 

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  2. ecaroline

    “Progressives and liberals” seem to waste a huge amount of effort and public time worrying about minutae.

    The sheer volume of pathetically insignificant things they worry about makes one wonder if they have any legitimate concerns at all or if they are stuck in the phase of adolescent rebellion for the sake of rebellion.

    I used to side with this general movement but in the past 20+ years it has become a looney-bin of foolishness and petulance of trivial matters.

    Sweating out this street sign is a perfect example of people who seem to have nothing of value to offer to society.

    The same amount of effort could have been exerted in feeding some homeless people…. every dollar and penny spent on phone calls took food out of the mouth of a hungry person. The time the elected officials wasted on this issue took away from serious issues that actually require their attention.

    Add into this the fact that the complainers were entirely heedless of the ridiculous amount of money and time that they proposed to dump on the innocent residents of that street.

    This kind of unwise and unthinking behavior is why the “progressives and liberals” find their ranks thinning daily… and find their former supporters just washing their hands of them in disgust.

    Those abstract ideals that “liberals and progressives” support…. and which are actually worthwhile ideals… are poorly served by the actual real world tactics, actions and tactics they indulge.

    The more foolishness ‘they’ engage in the more their ideals, too, are diminished in the eyes of the general public.

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