Letter: County’s effort to censor political speech is B.S.

Sep 13, 2017

On November’s ballot is a Mukilteo-only sales tax increase called Proposition 1. I wrote the statement against it for the voter’s pamphlet.

I encourage you to vote no. Why? Because politicians only know what we tell them. And if voters reject this tax increase, we are sending a message that we expect them to prioritize spending and use existing taxes more effectively rather than impose higher taxes.

That’s a good message for them to hear, especially because we’re taxed enough already. We already have one of the highest sales taxes in the nation, our already burdensome property taxes were recently and dramatically increased, our car tab taxes are skyrocketing because Sound Transit is artificially inflating them by dishonestly calculating them, and every sin tax imaginable is being imposed on us by federal, state and local governments. Frankly, we’re tapped out.

As you’ve probably heard, there’s a bit of a kerfuffle over my use of the letters B.S. in the voter’s pamphlet. Fighting over B.S. seems pretty silly, doesn’t it? But to me, it’s serious. Whenever the government tries to censor speech, it’s important for the people to question that authority.

First of all, B.S. isn’t on George Carlin’s list of words you can’t say. For the past week, B.S. has been widely used in newspapers, including the Beacon. Was there rioting at the Lighthouse Festival? Did packs of wolves roam Harbour Pointe? No. I’m pretty sure regular citizens shrugged their shoulders and said “you’ve gotta be kidding.”

And context is everything. Here’s what I wrote: “Politicians always say the need for higher taxes is ‘indisputable.’ We call B.S. on that.” One of the dictionary definitions of B.S. is exactly what I had in mind: “it is said when someone tells a lie.” Also: “Anything said by a politician.”

I believe what I wrote is well within the mainstream of political speech, and I firmly oppose the government telling citizens what they can and cannot say in a publication that's only read by voters over the age of 18.

The citizens of Mukilteo are not snowflakes. We are adults who deserve to be treated like adults. And as a political activist, I'm not comfortable with the slippery slope we're on regarding the almost daily degradation of our right to free speech guaranteed by the First Amendment.

Government censorship is a dangerous thing and it deserves vocal resistance, not quiet acceptance.

 

Tim Eyman
Mukilteo
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