I have lived near the beach for more than 50 years and have experienced the ugly arm of extremism many times. Back in 1971, a year after I first moved to Laguna, I was a student-teacher at a Newport Beach elementary school. One day the principal told me he already had one Jew on staff so I better look for a job somewhere else.
Five years later, after I founded a nonprofit organization dedicated to encouraging high school students to vote when they turned 18. I was insulted because I invited then-Congresswoman Yvonne Braithwaite Burke to join the group’s advisory board.
But those insults were nothing compared to the death threats my former wife and I received for publishing the Andy Warhol portrait of Jane Fonda in 1982. Back then, the actress and her husband, Tom Hayden, often were called traitors by O.C. elected officials and members of the powerful Lincoln Club.
Even today, I am still on the receiving end of someone’s extreme political views. In a Facebook private message, a Laguna acquaintance of mine recently called me a “demonic, Satan liberal” because my views were so different from hers.
Whatever happened to the phrase, “live and let live?” I guess that only applies to some who call Orange County home, not everyone.
Denny Freidenrich, Laguna Beach
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