Intimidation at the McLean Farmers Market

Intimidation at the McLean Farmers Market

To the Editor:

An ugly scene disrupted the usual tranquility of the McLean Farmers Market last Friday. As market-goers know, the Republican and Democrat parties have tables where people can pick up campaign literature, bumper stickers, yard signs and information about voting and registration. Or, they can just stop and talk, if they want.

Last Friday, shortly after the opening of the market, I was accosted as I stood alone, minding my own business, behind a table with some Republican signs and literature. I understand that people may not want to be bothered when coming and going from the market, so if I “man” the table I simply say good morning or just smile. But I wasn't even paying attention when a man suddenly was beside my table shrieking "terrorist," then vehemently spewing curses at me, “f-you,” over and over, and loudly. I suggested he needed to control his anger but finally said I was calling the police. It was so bad a Democrat volunteer came to my assistance.

I guess the man doesn’t like Republicans, but the profanity and completely unprovoked vehemence and hatred with which he cursed me—a total stranger and lone woman—was frightening. I didn’t know if he was deranged, a little unhinged, or just having a bad morning. My hands shook as he reached for the door of his vehicle parked adjacent to my table.

Two squad cars arrived promptly after I called the Fairfax County Police, and the officers quickly identified the man from his license plate number. They intended to call upon him to discuss his menacing behavior. I am writing to thank the Democrat volunteer, Patricia Scott, and the Fairfax County Policemen who responded so quickly and took my concerns seriously. I hope this event and my letter will help deter this man and any others from such conduct in the future.

Women should feel safe at the farmers market and not fear that they will be threatened by an abusive, bullying male, trying to intimidate a lone Republican woman. To the extent that national political leaders are using epithets such as "terrorists," "jihadists,” and “anarchists," they are irresponsibly encouraging this kind of behavior. There are profound policy differences between the two parties, but our disagreements must not degenerate into personal hatred and violence at the individual level, where complete strangers can be so vilely attacked. I have respectfully asked the Connection to withhold my name from this article.

A Republican Woman in McLean

The name known to the editor.