Our community should be better than the debacle we are seeing nationally when it comes to how political viewpoints are dividing us as Americans. However, it appears we still have room to grow after a push late last week between the city of Wheeling and the Ohio County Republican Party over allowing uniformed police and firefighters to participate in the procession of “Freedom Train”.
The event, intended to “celebrate freedom and thank the first responders”, will take place on Thursday. The procession will begin in South Wheeling and end at the White Palace in Wheeling Park.
There, participants will have the opportunity to enter the White House and watch Dinesh D’Souza’s controversial documentary “2000 Mules,” which alleges massive vote fraud during the 2020 election. City officials, upon learning of the documentary, they informed local GOP leaders that city police and on-call firefighters would not be allowed to participate in what they consider a political event.
That, in turn, prompted a response from Ohio County GOP Vice Chair Carlee Dittmar, alleging that the city is willing to hold some events in Wheeling, but not others.
This is nonsense. There are easy solutions here, if both parties would just work together.
The city could simply allow uniformed officers and firefighters to be part of the procession and return to work or go home when it arrives at the White House. Or the Ohio County GOP could simply choose a movie that better fits the theme of the event, something that honors first responders and the work they do to keep our community safe.
We have to be better than this.