To the Editor: Calls for unity

As many people in Ridgecrest know me as “that Shoutouts Guy,” I typically try and stay as far away from any political battles that come up. In terms of the Timbisha Shoshone Tribal Casino coming into Ridgecrest, I am very much in favor.

Yes, we all know the opposition has their voice as is their right. What I would like to say is this. Ridgecrest Shoutouts is all about the unification of our small community in hopes of bringing everyone together.

When it comes to a debate, we should all be thinking of how everyone in our great nation has a right to their own opinions and for their voice to be heard. We should not be attacking anyone who has a different point of view on any matter, be it religious, political, race, sexual orientation.

The list actually goes on quite extensively, but for the sake of space and time I am limiting it to the very basics of common courtesy and respect.

I have seen a lot of heated debates arise from the conflict that has brewed over the past two years of this discussion. One thing I would like to point out is members of our city vouncil should never raise their voices, flail their arms about or outright put anyone with a difference of opinion on a subject matter on blast. As for personal religious beliefs in regard to councilmembers, while they are perfectly within their right to hold them, they should not base their votes solely on said religious beliefs.

Everyone in this nation has a right to their opinion and the right to voice it in a safe setting. I recently read an article in your paper and the very notion of it was mentioned in an edition of the Daily Independent of a citizen of Ridgecrest calling for a boycott on businesses that support the casino. This is the very thing that Ridgecrest Shoutouts is against! We are a community — by any measure of boycott this town would be torn apart. So I would like to have a say in this matter, not only as a Ridgecrest citizen ... but as Ridgecrest Shoutouts.

A boycott should never be called on any business because of personal beliefs. We are a great community, a community that has come together so many times in the past that I cannot see why the issue of a casino is such a tragic thing for so many people.

I have heard rumors and propaganda on so many levels, it borders on the side of paranoia, rather than obtaining facts through appropriate sources by joining in city council meetings, reaching out to the Tribal Chairman George Gholson, or doing your own research online and reading the MSA.

My stance is this: those people who are spreading rumors based on hate, or fear should try and get to know the very people they are speaking out against. We should not allow prejudice to rule our community.

This portion goes out to Mike Neel — how dare you call for a boycott and still imagine that you have any chance of winning in any election in this town? You, sir, should feel ashamed not only for your actions, but also for the very nature in which you tainted this good town’s integrity!

This community will come together one way or another. Whether you like the outcome is irrelevant.

Stephen Birdwell

Story First Published: 2018-05-11