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What people say matters. What leaders say matters. What the President of our country says matters. What Martin Luther King Jr., said, that people should not be “judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character,” matters.
And defeating bigotry in all forms matters. As Alaskans we can do that.
It’s not possible to exaggerate how angry I was when our President blamed good Americans, who stood for what was right and fair, for violence at a KKK and Neo-Nazi hate rally in Charlottesville last week. I am proud we have Americans who will stand up against hate and racism, including the extreme forms espoused by the Klan, Neo-Nazis, and their allies.
I can’t change last week. But like you, as an American citizen I have the free speech right to say what the President said at the outset was not leadership. Or at least not leadership in a color, race, and religion-blind society, which is where America, and Alaska, should be in 2017.
I just want over 700,000 Alaskans to know that I don’t believe that kind of divisiveness has any place in Alaska. I’ll stand with you against those who’d engage in it. The Klan has a despicable history of hate and violence towards Jews, African Americans, and millions of people who deserve equal rights and respect under the law. I don’t get to play president. I do get to say I condemn the views of the Klan, and would do so if they marched in Alaska to espouse hatred and division. That’s what our President, who seemed to cast blame at Americans who opposed this rally of hate, should have done on day one, not on day three: https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2017-08-13/trump-criticized-for-not-denouncing-white-nationalists-at-rally.
I will write soon on matters that are more Alaska related. But as an elected official I can’t stay silent when the voices of hate are too loud. And I want you to know that the Governor, and legislators I respect, are on your side. It is why I voted to Censure Rep. David Eastman (R-Wasilla) for his misinformed, insulting, hurtful speech targeting women who choose abortion – and his claim that they did so to get free plane rides:
It’s why I was the first legislator to stand up, in a press conference, to speak out against his amendment, passed by a number of Republican Minority members including the Minority leader, changing a state resolution on child protection and sexual assault into one decrying all abortions. I stand by my statement at the time that playing abortion politics with a resolution that could have passed across party lines, was “pathetic.”
Unless in the midst of physical danger, we can all set people straight that we believe in what the Pledge of Allegiance promises: “Liberty and Justice for all.”
We can all stand up for our neighbors.
We can all write letters to the editor to steer conversation towards acceptance and tolerance, not division and intolerance.
I hope this summer finds you well. And with the recent events, and almost universal response demanding equal treatment of our neighbors, I say that in what, today, is a stronger country than it was last week.
“After the writing of my E-Newsletter, the President returned to blaming what he calls “both sides”. That was sad to see. It is my unshakable view that true Americans have every right to protest the Klan, and to protest Neo-Nazi’s, and to condemn the hate they promote. The President is vastly wrong in criticizing Americans who stand against racism, bigotry and hate in 2017 America . Standing up against the hate espoused by the Klan and their allies is the American thing to do.”