To the editor:
On Thursday night I had the pleasure of going to the Dole Institute of Politics to watch the 2nd District congressional debate between incumbent Republican Lynn Jenkins and Democratic challenger Tobias Schlingensiepen. As a truly undecided voter, it is wonderful community opportunities like this allow citizens like me to formulate their opinions in an educated, informed manner.
After having read in the Journal-World that a similar debate in Topeka saw a turnout of only 50, I was thrilled to see our community value the democratic process by showing up in far greater numbers. Unfortunately, on this particular evening, my experience was diminished by several of those who chose to attend. Sitting in front of my husband and me were three very vocal Schlingensiepen supporters who insisted upon making loud grumblings and distracting motions toward the stage every time Jenkins spoke. At one point, they even found it appropriate to yell out “liar” as she made her closing remarks.
As an undecided voter, the actions of this group may help persuade me in my decision, but probably not in the way those three disrespectful citizens hoped. While in the past I have traditionally been a supporter of the Democratic Party, if this is the way Schlingensiepen supporters go about conducting their affairs, I would be ashamed and embarrassed to count myself as one of them. In the democratic process, manners and respect ought to be bipartisan values.