For as long as this nation has been a republic, we've taught our children the importance of public service and that when something is important to them, they should not be quiet but be willing to do the hard work to get the results they want. As a Tiverton teacher for the past 25 years, I work to instill this in my students.

Lately, however, all it seems we hear from some Town Council members and their allies is the opposite. Evidently, they believe we, as citizens, should sit down, keep quiet and refrain from taking any action that may challenge their authority.

First, the council stripped away public comment at meetings, stifling dissent with the expectation that townspeople should simply quietly trust in their leadership. Next, the targets of the recent recall effort have taken a very cavalier attitude toward democracy itself and are encouraging people not to turn out to vote at all. Even if you disagree with the politics of what's going on in town right now, as an elected official, why would you ever counsel anyone against exercising their right to vote? By definition, that's what authoritarians do: concentrate power and favor blind submission while stripping the people of their freedom to speak out and take action.

Kudos to the individual(s) who were bold enough to exercise their right to take action by researching and then collecting the signatures to trigger the recall election. That bold and difficult work should not be subverted by an act of naked voter suppression.

The people have been silenced long enough – let them vote! Please, come out and vote in force on Oct. 10. Stand up, use your voice and your vote to let the council know that Tiverton doesn't want their brand of poor leadership.

Amy Mullen

Portsmouth

President, NEA-Tiverton

NEA Director, Rhode Island