Reporter editorial: Deep breaths, please

In the hyper-ugly political moment we are living in, it’s certainly part of the climate that someone, or some group, could be so horribly offended by political signs for candidates they can’t stand that they would stop on the side of the road, pull them up and throw them away.

Take that! I hate you! I hate your candidates! I can’t stand looking at their names when I see them by the side of the road! I only want to see posters for the candidates I support!

Throw into the conversation the photograph that flashed across social media recently of a taxpayer-funded Brookhaven Fire Department ladder truck in a parade in Patchogue decorated with a large Confederate flag. America in September 2020.

Waving that banner today, protected by the First Amendment, of course, nevertheless proclaims alignment with white supremacy. No one can pretend otherwise.

As has been said many times, we are living in a post-truth America, where everyone has his or her own version of reality and hypocrisy runs a mile deep. Imagine a political candidate running for president on a law enforcement platform who has had at least seven close associates and advisers either indicted for or pleading guilty to crimes. You don’t need to imagine.

Ripping out political signs because they offend you and flying the flag once held high by traitors and slave owners — resulting in the deaths of hundreds of thousands of young men who believed their leaders were right and took up arms in support — is taking political insult to a new level.

As Patchogue Mayor Paul Pontieri said in Newsday of the parade banner, “It lights a fire where a fire doesn’t need to be lit.”

Suffolk County Executive Steve Bellone has called on the county Human Rights Commission and the New York State Division of Human Rights to investigate the flag incident.

We applaud this move. And we ask that everyone take some deep breaths, and realize this isn’t a civil war, but an election, where all sides must be heard, and respected.