Editor, The Beacon:
Recently, it was revealed that Loren King, a Deltona city commissioner, was a former member of the Oath Keepers.
This group has been described as hateful and dedicated to the overthrow of the U.S. government. Both the Anti-Defamation League and the Southern Poverty Law Center have used this description.
We have no way of knowing exactly when Mr. King joined and when he left the Oath Keepers. The FBI has stated that this group did not maintain accurate membership records, so it has been difficult to pin down these exact dates.
It is difficult to understand how Mr. King can represent all of the residents in his district fairly with such a background.
Mr. King stated that any person who has an issue with him does not know him, and should be man enough to sit down with him instead of running his mouth to the media. The implication is that one must know him before he can criticize him.
Since when is it necessary to personally know an extremist before speaking out? Would I have to personally know David Duke (a former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan) or Adolf Hitler before speaking out and condemning their fascist and bigoted mentalities? I think not.
Also, is not freedom of the press one of the foundations of our society? So, running one’s mouth to the media has such importance to all of us by exposing the past of people like Mr. King.
The qualities that an elected official should have include experience, wisdom, integrity and a basic sense of fairness in representing all residents in his district. Does he have these qualities? If so, I have not seen them to date.
Further, of the seven elected officials in the City of Deltona, two have spoken in King’s defense. Five have remained silent.
The failure of the City Commission to censure or reprimand Mr. King for his membership in the Oath Keepers is abhorrent. It defies any explanation.
I believe that it was the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. who said “Silence means acceptance.” The City Commission’s reluctance to speak out and reprimand or censure Loren King for his past membership really shows a lack of understanding about how residents of the city are in an uproar and demanding that something be done.