Letter: Hostility and condescension toward the youth of Saugerties

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

(Photo by Dion Ogust)

I am shocked by the rude and condescending attitude that certain candidates are showing towards younger voters. I am making reference to the repeated attacks on Kelly Myer’s son, Adam, on the Saugerties Times website. In the comment section, Adam wrote in support of his mother and critiqued other candidates’ political positions. In the responses to his comment, he was told how he should address his mother in public. Adam addressed his mother in a professional manner and apparently that was an affront to the sensitivities of some. His parents were referred to rudely by political nicknames.

Adam was told, more or less, that his parents did a poor job raising him because he was unaware of another candidate’s service record in Ulster County. It was also suggested that because Adam is in college in another town in New York State that he somehow is disconnected from the reality of living in Saugerties and therefore should not comment on matters concerning Saugerties. In response to Adam’s critique of a candidate, a supporter went off on a rant on that candidate’s record and suggested that Adam should join the Armed Forces if he wanted to critique her candidacy. Lastly, both Democrats and Republicans offered Adam what they felt was “sage” advice that Adam should not be involved in his mother’s campaign, should not volunteer to speak out on her behalf, or even engage in political debate for that matter.

They then apologized to Adam, saying they were sorry he had to go through this as if speaking out on political issues in Saugerties is in itself a traumatic experience and should be left to these “wise elders” that are desperately vying for political office.


Adam is far from the only example of this pervasive attitude towards younger voters in Saugerties. Unfortunately for Adam Myers, that attitude was documented in the attacks his comments received online. Similarly, Bob Aiello felt it was important to put candidate Chris Allen in his place by referring to him as a “kid” and in doing so trying to emphasize that entrenched unchanging beliefs and mere age makes one more qualified.

This is an attitude that has existed in Saugerties since I can remember and it threatens the new vitality of this town. It harkens back to the vile racism, bigotry, and ignorant prejudice that caused many of my friends not to return to live here. I find it both scary and sad that people are so threatened by someone else’s political opinion that they will ridicule them in an attempt to silence them and thus deny them their First Amendment rights.

The youth (or the youthful in the case of Chris Allen) should be lauded for their involvement in the community as one would assume all of this politicking is to make Saugerties a better place for them, yes? Apparently not. It takes a village to raise a child but it is a village that is destroying the potential of youth involvement in Saugerties.

Sarah Dahman