Dear Rep. Rohrabacher; Or: You, too, can take part in democracy!

The observant reader is by now aware that I crosspost most of what appears here at Angry Black Lady Chronicles, a joint that gets less Black, but no less Angry, by the day. We are Team Benetton, hear us roar!

Be that as it may, Angry Black Lady is also a Lady With Many Smart Friends, and one of her friends, Kumar, drafted a really wonderful letter to his US Representative, Congressman Dana Rohrabacher (R-CA), in response to the ugly events that took place in Yorba Linda on February 13. I wanted to post it here, as it really is a terrific example of what these letters can look like. “I challenge you,” Kumar writes,”to toss aside your party affiliation and stand for dignity, respect and tolerance of all human beings, regardless of religion” — and that’s pretty much the whole enchilada right there, isn’t it?

Mr. Rohrabacher,

I am writing to an elected official for the first time in my 43 years.

I’m sure you know by now what took place in Yorba Linda on February 13th.  I am referring, by the way, to the so-called protest, not the peaceful, family-oriented, faith-based humanitarian event that was disrupted in a shameful manner.

I call on you to speak up publicly and loudly AGAINST the participation of and encouragement by three elected officials, two of whom are your colleagues in Congress.  As Federal Representatives, they are sworn to uphold the Constitution, but this video shows that they did exactly the opposite:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NutFkykjmbM

I think it should be abundantly clear from the exact words of the politicians at the “protest” that their views aren’t actually about freedom of speech or freedom of assembly or having alternative viewpoints.  Rather, these officials are clearly speaking of restricting others’ freedom to practice the religion of their choice, and putting their support behind the generalizations that people make as a result of ignorance, fear and hatred.  The latter should be repugnant to any decent human being, but the former is certainly more dangerous to a free society, particularly when government officials are involved.

I don’t know exactly how to implore you to do something about this, except to say “Do something about this!”  I’m asking you to make it clear, in a public forum, that advocating the deaths of fellow citizens, solely based on their religion, is PRECISELY what this country was founded to overcome.

I don’t really care that you and these other elected officials are of the same political party or that you serve neighboring districts.  In fact, I challenge you to toss aside your party affiliation and stand for dignity, respect and tolerance of all human beings, regardless of religion.  If these elected officials’ actions are allowed to happen without consequence, then bigotry begins to become institutionalized in government offices.

I will wait and see what you do (or don’t do).

Write to your people, people! Click here for that list of links and ideas that I posted the other day (I included a short sample letter, but frankly, Kumar’s is a whole lot better).

And one last thing: Matt Duss, National Security Editor at the Center for American Progress and a terrific writer whose work appears at The Nation, The American Prospect, Think Progress (and lots of other worthy places), pointed his Twitter followers today toward this really useful study:  “American Muslims Find Mosques Help Muslims Integrate into American Political Life.” The most impressive number from the study (to my mind) is: 95% — that is, 95% of Muslims identified as having “high levels of religiosity” feel that “Islam is compatible with political participation in the United States.”

Here’s the study’s conclusion (but it’s well worth reading the whole thing — it’s even short!):

Despite the popularized idea that Muslims are radicalized around the country in mosques, we find that mosques help Muslims integrate into US society, and in fact have a very productive role in bridging the differences between Muslims and non-Muslims in the United States. This is a finding in social science that is consistent with decades of research on other religious groups such as Jews, Protestants and Catholics where church attendance and religiosity has been proven to result in higher civic engagement and support for core values of the American political system. Likewise, mosques are institutions that should be encouraged to function as centers of social and political integration in America.

Crossposted at Angry Black Lady Chronicles.

4 Comments

  1. Mahmoud El-Yousseph

     /  March 8, 2011

    To this to lady who wrote his elected official for the first time in 43 years. This Muslim American was moved to the core by your letter. I am lost on words to express my gratitude. You did prompt to write this letter below. Even though he was elected and supported by US tax-payers, he answers only to foreign lobbies and his loyalty and elligence is not to America. Thanks again to you and to Emily for making this possible for me to read. Please read below:

    Dear Rep. Peter King,

    This is in response to your email letter addressed to me dated March 8th.
    You got it wrong, Mr. Chairman, on all accounts. Let me explain!

    First of all, I do not support or stand by you. You are conducting a Kangaroo Court hearing against Muslims like me in America. Your hearing is nothing more than a witch hunt against our fellow Muslim American citizens.

    Secondly, your false claim about Muslim terrorism, radicalization, extremism or what ever you want to call it is unfair and un-American, as it targets Muslims only, while ignoring all other acts of terror. Besides, how does a man like you with ties to Europe’s bloodiest and most notorious terrorist organization become the Chairman of US Homeland Security Committee, let alone paint all Muslims with the same terrorism brush?
    As the old saying goes, Mr. King, ” if you live in a house of glass, you do not throw stones.”

    Two distinguished lawmakers are on record condemning your Mickey Mouse hearing. Rep. Michael Honda of California and Rep. Beanie Thompson of Mississippi both wrote OpEd pieces challenging your false claims against Muslims and disputed all of your allegations.

    Finally you ended your letter with, and I quote, “As I go forward, it is very reassuring to know that I will have good Americans like you on my side.”

    I am not so sure as to how you came to this conclusion. Have you or any of your staff ever read my letters?

    Well Mr. Chairman, you were half right on that regard. I am a good American. In fact I served the country that I love for 20 years. And I was willing and ready to die for America if need be. But, I am not on you side.!

    To give you further proof, here is a copy of a letter I wrote last night after I watched you on CNN spewing your venom. BTW, the was sent to local news publications.

    “.US Rep. Peter King is a flat liar!
    He has told CNN news in an interview on March 7th that AG Eric Holder stated/told him that Muslims in America keep him up at night. That is a false claim. There was no where in AG Holder’s quoted statement that the word “Muslims” was ever uttered.
    To set the record straight, here is AG Holder’s exact statement:

    “It is one of the things that keeps me up at night,” Holder said. “You didn’t worry about this even two years ago — about individuals, about Americans, to the extent that we now do. And — that is of — of great concern.””The threat has changed from simply worrying about foreigners coming here, to worrying about people in the United States, American citizens — raised here, born here, and who for whatever reason, have decided that they are going to become radicalized and take up arms against the nation in which they were born”

    Rep. King’s statement against Muslims is dishonest and disingenuous.Americans deserve facts not a demoguage.”

    Yours,
    Mahmoud El-Yousseph
    Retired USAF Veteran
    Feedback: elyousseph6@yahoo.com

    “If you think you are too small to be effective, you have never been in bed with a mosquito.” Italian Peot – Dante [1265-1321]

  2. dmf

     /  March 9, 2011

    if we really want to make the world a safer place: http://www.womenforwomen.org/

    • You make an excellent point, my friend. “Helping Women Survivors of War Rebuild Their Lives” is a credo I can get behind.

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