On Doing The Right Thing
- Combat Domestic Hate Groups
Censure and More Firings
Endorse Anti-hate Policies and End Racist Policies and Programs
A week after American Nazis marched on the city of Charlottesville, Rodney Frelinghuysen’s newsletter contained a statement that was nearly all that could be wished: pointed, clear and uncompromising in its refusal to concede legitimacy of any sort to Donald Trump’s both-sides-now equivocating. In its articulateness and power to move, the Friday newsletter statement was a world away from Frelinghuysen’s initial response on Monday — an inert, two-sentence post to his website.
“To be clear, the President’s assertion that there were two legitimate “sides” in Charlottesville last weekend is flatly wrong,’’ he declared Friday. “There can be no comparison – no equivalency - between white supremacists, KKK members and other racist fringe groups and those who showed up to challenge their bigotry, racism and anti-semitism.”
Perhaps opinions on Friday’s words will include terms such as gutsy, or forceful. There is an even more fundamental description: The right thing.
We only wish he would have done the right thing sooner. Frelinghuysen waited two days after the violence in Charlottesville before releasing his first, tepid statement against white supremacy late Monday afternoon. On Tuesday, he added a single sentence (punctuated by an exclamation point) to announce that Charlottesville protesters weren’t to blame before elaborating further in his newsletter.
In the meantime, the president’s economic council collapsed after several CEO’s left in protest, the 16 members of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities resigned together, and several GOP lawmakers from Leonard Lance to Marco Rubio mentioned the President specifically in repudiating his comments. But perhaps more influential to Frelinghuysen were his constituents, who called his offices constantly, visited daily, tweeted by the hundreds and had multiple letters published in the opinion sections of local press, all calling for stronger action. There were also hundreds of vigils and rallies across the country. We wonder if Friday’s statement is responsive — at long last— to the opinions and beliefs of his constituents.
As 2017 marches into autumn, we will need, at every turn, elected officials to remain just as strong and clear in answer to anything that challenges what is fundamentally decent about our democracy. And we will need, as we do now, actions on the heels of such statements.
“Actions speak louder than words but not nearly as often.” - Mark TwainRead more