Freedom of expression

To the Editor:

I enjoy reading the Street Beat section in the Islander. My impression is that it is intended as a fun, light-hearted commentary on things of local interest … favorite reads, hikes, movies, restaurants, etc. It gives us person-in-the-street opinions, expressed in a few sentences.

The question asked in the Sept. 28 issue is not so light-hearted, especially given today’s divisive political climate, but that’s democracy at work.

Street Beat asked whether NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem are being disrespectful or engaging in legitimate protest. To me, such a question just adds fuel to a fire lit by the president with his football rants via tweet.

I respect that everyone is entitled to their opinion. However the first opinion printed in the Sept. 28 issue ended with “They can’t go to any other country and get the same opportunity.”

I in no way wish to target that gentleman, who is freely expressing his opinion, as is his right. However, I must say I am tired of regularly hearing and reading statements that unequivocally imply that only in America do you have the right to protest without fear of reprisal.

That is so far from true: Canada, The Netherlands, Germany, France, The U.K., Poland, Spain, Australia, etc. and many other countries also respect the right of their citizens and residents to freely express their opinion without fear of reprisal from their government.

Yes, you can say America is a great country, but it isn’t the only great country, and most certainly isn’t the only country that allows freedom of speech and the right to protest.

Full disclosure: I am a Canadian citizen, married to a Dutch citizen. We have lived in the U.S. for many years as legal residents. We pay U.S. taxes, state taxes, local taxes — everything American citizens do. The only thing we don’t do (because we can’t), that you can do (and should), is vote.

Terri Reimens

Bar Harbor


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