I went to elementary school in Benton and always thought of it as “Mayberry.” We lived in my Grandpa Carl Kocher’s house on Market Street. He taught me some of my most important principles about life: Love your neighbor and respect everyone no matter their income, sex, color, political affiliation or religious choice.

Recently, I drove through Benton and was shocked to see a large billboard showing a picture of Hitler, Stalin, and Obama stating something to the effect “all evil dictators.”

Thankfully, in America we all have First Amendment right to free speech.

But what would motivate one of my neighbors to make such a radical statement? Obama did not murder millions of people like Stalin and Hitler. He left office peacefully.

When did the minds of my neighbors become so hate-filled, rabid and un-neighborly?

I would like to think that this is an isolated incident but unfortunately it points to an intolerance that is emerging in America making it way too easy to label somebody a “Magat,” “Demorat,” or “Libtard”

What is happening in America? It feels like a wedge is being hammered into our brains.

Instead of an allegiance to family, country, neighbors and the truth, we are being told everything is fake news.

I want Mayberry back again!

Americans have always tolerated political differences until now and thought of by the world as a shiny city on the hill! And a model of peaceful transition of power for the world!


Jeff Andrysick,

Hammondsport, N.Y.






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