News From Terre Haute, Indiana

July 5, 2013

EDITORIAL: Noteworthy in the news

The Tribune-Star

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A driving force at Red Cross retires

It will feel unnatural for months to refer to the Wabash Valley American Red Cross without in the same breath referring to Carol Stevens.

For 27 years, the two have been synonymous. That ended last Friday when she worked her last day as the local agency’s executive director and headed into retirement.

Through disasters and catastrophes — local, national and global — Stevens has been the calm, empathetic, on-the-spot representative of a great organization. From that position, she has urged us to help those who are suffering. She has personalized events far away and motivated us to write a check or to text a contribution.

She also has efficiently made sure that her local Red Cross workers and volunteers were hard at work when those here at home were beset by flood, tornado, fire or other disaster. The Red Cross has always been there to help, and Stevens has been the driving force in the Wabash Valley.

Now, she steps aside to let someone else take on the task. We thank Stevens and wish her well in the next chapter of her life.

Pence reversal on deletions: ‘Like’

Gov. Mike Pence did the right thing last week after one or more of his minions did the wrong thing.

The wrong thing was deleting comments from the Guv’s Facebook page that disagreed with a statement he had made in favor of a constitutional amendment he wants to add to Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage. His statement came after the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling on the Defense of Marriage Act and on California’s Proposition 8.

At first, Pence defended the deletions of what he called “name-calling and vulgar comments.” A day later, after he found out the deleted comments came from those who took the opposite political and social stance on same-sex marriage, he quickly apologized and acknowledged his staff acted too zealously and incorrectly.

Had Pence not acted promptly, he would have allowed to stand a situation in which his staff targeted for exclusion from the Facebook page those with which he disagreed politically. And we all have had enough — too much, in fact — political targeting by government.

“Hoosiers expect our public debate to be open and respectful,” Pence said, “and we will ever seek to live up to that standard. In agreement or disagreement, I respect the opinions and the freedoms of the people of Indiana.”

That’s what free speech is all about, and we applaud Pence for correcting the record and — we’re sure — admonishing his staff.