Statement of Junior Councilmember Darwish on returning Respect and Dignity to Civil Discourse

As Junior Councilmember, I am addressing the people of Mount Pocono today on the behalf of the youth here in Monroe County. This decision was not made lightly, but rather with a very heavy heart. Being on the Junior Council, it was my expectation that the grime of politics that are so inherent in Washington and in Harrisburg had not yet reached this small town. That the values that have traditionally united Americans: respect and dignity, had not yet been trampled. I  was, unfortunately, misguided.

Yesterday, driving home from work, I had come across a large white sign, with bold words written across, “Claudette Williams: deadbeat taxpayer, mentally deficient”. This repugnant show of divisiveness in rhetoric pointed to something much larger. In the recent weeks preceding tomorrow’s election, it has come to my attention that remarks have been made in an attempt not only to degrade those with differing political beliefs, but to silence those people, to drown out the marketplace of ideas, to assassinate diversity, and to, for lack of a better word, lynch democracy itself.

To say the least, I am disgusted. I am disgusted by the behaviors of the people who attempt to alienate members of our community based solely on differences of politics. And quite frankly, everyone in this room should be ashamed that we have, as a community, allowed for ourselves to stoop this low, to lose humanity.

The only beacon of hope for me is this: your time is up. Your unabashed disregard for morality will no longer be tolerated. Youth everywhere have decided that your style of hate is that of yesterday. You will be  replaced. You will be forgotten. We, the youth, have vowed to change the course of dialogue by voting for a better tomorrow. We will be out in numbers, making sure that you may never be able to spread hatred again.

Moving on from these scarring events, and to conclude here today, I ask each of you how you would like the youth to remember your legacy. Will it be that you recognized your the ephemerality of your time, passing the torch of venerated democracy down to our generation, ensuring that our pathways were open, that we had the same opportunities afforded to you yourselves? Or will you be remembered for attempting to derail our society into something unrecognizable: where hate, distrust, and disrespect become foundational to any discourse? The decision is yours alone to make.

Shawky Darwish
Junior Councilmember
Mount Pocono, Pennsylvania