Letter: Republicans Refusal to Call out the President for Words & Behavior Condones Racism, Bigotry

Letter to the editor submitted by Dan Edelstein, Old Greenwich

To the editor,

According to Sunday’s Greenwich Time, J.P. Sheehan, a proponent of a “white ethno-state” who’d “be fine with the country being 80 percent white,” recently resigned from the Bethel, CT Republican Town Committee.  

He had been appointed this past January, in spite of the fact that his views had been exposed nationally in Vice Magazine in April 2016, then again a year later in the Los Angeles Times.  Further, he had been removed as president of the College Republicans Club in 2016 at Western Connecticut State University when his fellow club-members became aware of his racist, white-supremacist views.  

It’s hard to believe, given the national attention he’d gotten, that the RTC didn’t know, as they assert, that they had appointed a neo-nazi, but in a way it’s beside the point.  What is clear, as we prepare to go to the polls next week, is that there’s not even the remotest possibility that any Democratic Town Committee anywhere would be in a position of having to deal with a white supremacist within its ranks.  

Since he became president, Donald Trump’s rhetoric has all but invited white nationalists into the Republican Party.  He enabled neo-nazis in Charlottesville by calling them “fine people,” even after one of them had killed a counter-protester.  

He has routinely referred to immigrants as “rapists,” “criminals” and “animals, not people.”  

 Most hideous of all, his policies have separated families and put young children in cages where hundreds of them, even now, continue to be imprisoned.  

I’m not suggesting that all Republicans are racists, but by their almost unanimous refusal to call out the president on any of these issues, nationally as well as at the state and local level, including our representatives here in Greenwich, they are at least implicitly condoning his words and behavior.  By putting their party first, they are encouraging individuals like J.P. Sheehan to come out of the shadows.  As Elie Wiesel said, “Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.  Sometimes we must interfere.”  

Interviewed about his resignation last week, Sheehan disavowed his association with neo-Nazis and described his association with them as a “silly little phase,” but that he wasn’t “in the wrong or anything.”  I wonder what kind of “phase” the gunman in Pittsburgh was going through last Saturday, or the man in Florida who mailed 14 bombs to his “enemies” last week?  

If you want to be represented by people who will stand up for civil rights, women’s rights, and basic human rights, I implore you to vote Democratic.