Intolerance of Democrats strong in Manatee County

February 18, 2014 

I never realized that when I retired as an educator from New York after 33 years, along with being a Girl Scout leader, Sunday school superintendent, youth leader, civic leader, and union representative that I would find I am not wanted in Manatee County.

I continue to do my part as a volunteer and care about the needs of all in Manatee. I am on the board of Healthy Start, Sunday school, Vacation Bible School, active in my new church, Turning Points, Reading Pals, AAUW officer, Democratic Women's Club president for 14 years and now the chair of the Democratic Party.

In the last few months, I had a sales clerk at an office supply store tell me that Democrats were not welcome in this county and again by another person in a different setting. I do not care what your religion or political preference may be, but do not condemn me for being who I am because I will not condemn you!

I had been a Republican for most of my life as well as my husband, who served as a leader in the Conservative Party on Long Island. We realized in the 1990s that the Republican Party did not care about the education or health of the masses.

I have been searching this last six months for new office space for the Democratic Party in Manatee County and have been told by two business owners that they were afraid to rent to Democrats for fear they would lose their clients and customers. Is this not America?

I now understand how African-Americans and Hispanics feel in this country. As a Democrat living in Manatee County, I feel the same.

Intolerance for others in this country is still alive and well in 2013!

Patty Benson


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