Fear and loathing weren’t always part of our political discourse
On Feb. 3, 2016, President Obama visited a mosque in the U.S. for the first time in his seven-year presidency. He began his address by saying “thank you” to Muslim-Americans for “serving your community … lifting up the lives of your neighbors, and for helping keep us strong and united as one American family.”
Sen. Marco Rubio, who identifies himself as the ‘neo-establishment presidential Republican candidate, responded to the president’s visit the same day: “I’m tired of being divided against each other for political reasons like this president’s done, always pitting people against each other. Always. Look at today: he gave a speech at a mosque. Oh, you know, basically implying that America is discriminating against Muslims. Of course there’s discrimination in America, of every kind. But the bigger issue is radical Islam.”
If only Sen. Rubio had taken the time to read the president’s address. If only this “moderate” candidate had chosen not to use the fear factor to try to scare and divide us. If only he hadn’t been so cavalier in acknowledging prejudice in this country.
If only today’s establishment Republicans were more like President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Almost 60 years ago, at the dedication of the Islamic Center in Washington, he said, “ I should like to assure you, my Islamic friends, that under the American Constitution … and in American hearts … this place of worship is just as welcome … as any other religion.
I can only wonder what kind of political discussion we would be having if Marco Rubio was more like President Eisenhower.
Joanne Cabry, Chair
Progressive Democrats of Sussex County
Keeley responds to previous letter
I am writing to comment Lloyd E. Elling’s letter to Rep. Gray published in the Feb. 4 Coastal Point.
Let me start by saying I applaud Rep. Gray’s courageous vote. On the night before the vote, I, a large group of right-thinking neighbors, Rep. Gray and Gerald Hocker attended a 38th District Republican Club PAC meeting where the police chiefs from four neighboring communities and a state trooper were guest speakers.
Someone asked them their position on the pending death-penalty vote. The unanimous response was that they hoped it did not pass. They supported their position by noting today’s anti-police climate and stated that they feel that when they are on duty there is a bullseye on their backs. They believe the death penalty is a major deterrent to violence against the police. And I agree with them!
But even before that meeting I supported the death penalty based on what I believe is the accurate translation of the 6th Commandment, which is, “You shall not murder”! I do not consider a duly earned execution as a murder!
You express concern over the execution of an innocent. Many others and I are also concerned with this possibility. However, we live in the modern world of forensic investigation, and I believe that the errors of the past are much less likely to happen today.
Mr. Elling, I am a 78-year-old man born during the second World War. We both have seen the Korean and Vietnam wars, as well as our recent encounters in the Middle East, and now we even see terrible carnage in our streets. Considering all of this, I cannot comprehend how anyone can be a pacifist! But I wish you well with it!
I offer one final comment: I am always conflicted when I try to understand the mind of those in our society on the left who are so against the death penalty but support abortion. How can they so blithely defend life on one hand and totally discard it on the other?
Thomas M. Keeley III