I was profoundly disappointed to see the large Trump-Pence campaign sign at the intersection of Sixth Street and McWethy Drive vandalized with graffiti last week. The graffiti included profane images and words, as well as the acronym “BLM.” 

As an organizer of the weekly Black Lives Matter protests in Leadville, I am saddened that these vandals chose to affiliate their graffiti with BLM. I do not condone vandalism in any form and I assume that the other folks who have come out week after week to protest feel the same way. While I do not support the Trump / Pence campaign, I hold dear the belief that opposing viewpoints should be respected and safely expressed in our country. 

Alas, this is not the first act of political vandalism that has occurred in Leadville this summer. I am sad to report that at least 10 “Black Lives Matter Leadville” signs have been stolen from front yards around town. I myself had two signs stolen from my yard within a few days in June. The person who stole one of my signs cut off the word “Black” and pasted the remaining “Lives Matter Leadville” sign to the back of his truck. He then proceeded to drive around town for a number of weeks flaunting his trespassing and vandalism openly. 

I wish our town could be more tolerant of opposing viewpoints. I believe that the bonds that tie us together as people who reside and work in this small town at the top of the Rockies are much stronger than the political fault lines that divide us. I hope we can all draw inspiration from the 34-year friendship between Supreme Court justices Antonin Scalia and Ruth Bader Ginsberg where mutual respect and affection superseded politics. 

Since the graffiti incident, I’ve heard that a number of Democrats and BLM supporters have reached out to the owner of the vandalized Trump-Pence sign to express solidarity and concern over this offensive incident. I would like to add my voice to theirs.

Ray McGaughey

Leadville / Buena Vista

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