Monday, February 13, 2017

The sin of silence

I grew up in Fargo, ND reading what was then called the Fargo Forum. I never thought of it as anything other than a Republican-leaning paper. So the following letter-to-the-editor from deserves particular note. (h/t my Fargo friend George O’Neill)

Jim Shaw, former WDAY TV reporter and former KVRR TV news director, writes It’s called the sin of silence. Here is the letter.

Dear Republican members of Congress:

It’s time to step up to the plate. America needs you. The world needs you. President Donald Trump is a lunatic. You need to try to keep him in line. You control Congress. Show us that loyalty to your country is more important than a political party. Show us some backbone.

You criticized President Barack Obama for issuing too many executive orders, and you were right. Now that President Trump is doing it, there is silence from you. You should be outraged that not only is President Trump running the country by executive orders, but that he isn’t even consulting you on many of them.

You say you support the Constitution. How about speaking out in favor of the separation of powers? How about defending the First Amendment, especially freedom of religion and freedom of the press? The president is running roughshod over these areas. How about challenging President Trump when he questions the legitimacy of our judges and our free election process? Stop being a bunch of doormats. Show some integrity.

You can’t be blind to the dangers of President Trump’s travel ban. You know it’s a recruiting tool for ISIS and other terrorists. You must know that nobody has ever come from those seven countries to commit terrorism in the U.S. Are you really in favor of a ban that prevents innocent grandmothers from reuniting with their families, employees from returning to their jobs, and babies from receiving life-saving surgeries?

You can’t be happy that President Trump is attacking our good friends, such as Australia and Mexico. Who is he going to blast next? War heroes? Gold Star families? Whoops, he’s already done that. You have to be worried that many of our allies don’t trust us now. You have to be alarmed that Trump is so supportive of Russia’s Vladimir Putin. You know that Putin murders his own people, commits espionage against the U.S., and invaded Crimea.

Esteemed former Republican President George H.W. Bush spoke of making America a “kinder, gentler nation.” Trump is making it a meaner, selfish, cold-hearted nation. Please speak up, rather than watch Donald Trump trample on sacred American values and make the world a more dangerous place. What are you afraid of? One of the president’s nasty tweets? If you say nothing, then you are complicit with this lunacy. It’s called the sin of silence.

When it’s time to meet your maker and you’re asked why you didn’t try to stop the madness, saying, “He’s a Republican,” or “It would have hurt my chances for re-election,” will not be acceptable answers.

I add the obvious. Speaking up against Trump’s undemocratic excesses is not betraying conservative values. Not speaking up is itself a betrayal of those values. Get guts, conservatives. Our country needs you.

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