The lovely Miss Pam and I both have letters to the editor in today’s Commercial Appeal about the attacks on Steve Cohen that masqueraded as a cover story on July 31. Some edits were made (Including correcting a grammatical goof of mine; I have to take my hat off to them for that), most notably some of my criticisms of the paper itself. I do think those criticisms are well deserved, and I find it telling that among the excised portions is the sentence where I mentioned their writer, Ms. Abdullah, by name. Is there something there they're trying to make people forget about?
Still, I have to take my hat off to them for promptly allowing us to respond.
Anyway, click here to see them as they ran in the paper, then hit the back button to scroll down and see what we actually wrote.
As a Progressive Democrat and as a woman, I am appalled by some of the 9th Congressional District Democratic candidates' use of inflammatory rhetoric to provoke racial discord and religious intolerance in our community.
As quoted in your article "Voters get gender, race and religion," the statements issued by Bolton, Tinker and Stanton attacking Sen. Cohen's race, religion and accomplishments are deliberately reckless and morally reprehensible. Whether it is a push poll, third party mailers, or the use of ambiguous word connotations, the tactics used by these candidates have been engineered to create social and racial tension to get votes. These tactics, if anything, show how unfit and undeserving these individuals are to become public servants.
However, the most alarming fact is that none of these candidates have had the decency to take responsibility for what has been done in their names, as they should. This behavior shows that none of these individuals are willing to be held accountable for their actions, and this is a character flaw that voters of the 9th District should not ignore or accept.
These candidates claim to be true Democrats, yet they seem to have forgotten our party's core values: equality, inclusion and tolerance. The Democratic Party has set historically high standards in civil rights and social equality. Our party is the one that will fight for the poor and the disadvantaged. Our party is the party that gives minorities a voice in government through elected officials who represent and serve all constituents equally -regardless of their gender, race, creed, national origin or political affiliation. Our party's elected officials should stand up for your rights and mine, no matter who you are.
The irresponsible use of racial and religious divisiveness by these candidates --against each other, fellow Democrats, and particular members of this community-- is a slap in the face for those Democrats who came before them, and for the rest of us who believe and work hard to preserve, protect and advance our party's legacy. Shame on them.
I was appalled by your cover story on 7/31 (Voters get gender, race, and religion).
Perhaps it’s because I’m not old enough to remember the bad old days of Memphis, but I never thought I would see the day that this publication would allow itself to be used to further the cause of racism. Then I see Julian Bolton quoted in your paper as saying Steve Cohen only wants to join the Congressional Black Caucus so he can “send money to Israel”. Like some latter day Pat Buchanan, he decided that playing a game of “smear the Jew” is better strategy than talking about the issues.
Of course, that wasn’t the only unwarranted attack that was allowed to slide in that article. Ed Stanton is pretending that it’s Cohen that wanted to cause racial tension, and that he never ran the anti-Semitic push poll. It sure is a shame that there isn’t some place that employs reporters that could look into such a thing instead of simply allowing him to spin. It wouldn’t be hard to find people that got that call. Then again, doing it your way saves Stanton the trouble of calling everyone liars.
Nikki Tinker is standing to the side, pretending she knew absolutely nothing about the mailer that went out on her behalf. If there’s any validity to her claim, then surely we can expect her to file a suit against Emily’s List for using her picture without her permission, thus dragging her image to the mud.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure all of this out--- It just takes someone willing to ask questions, and Halimah Abdullah clearly isn’t that person.
Next time you talk to a political science professor for an article, ask one simple question. Do candidates with good records and good platforms have to resort to the classless strategies employed by Bolton, Tinker, and Stanton? Or do candidates play the race card when they have nothing substantive to say?
Steve Cohen has run a solid, clean campaign. As many times as Bolton, Tinker, Stanton, and Ron Redwing have espoused the politics of racial demagoguery, Cohen has never once counterattacked. The closest he came was holding a press conference that refuted the cheap shots in Nikki Tinker’s direct mailer. Even then, he did it with class and composure. He has substance, so he doesn’t need to sling mud.
The politics of racial discrimination need to die their long overdue death in this county. We need to be true to the ideals of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., who told us to judge a man by the content of his character, not the color of his skin. What does it say about the content of Julian Bolton’s character when he wears his prejudice on his sleeve? And what does it say about the content of Tinker’s and Stanton’s character that they’re ashamed to own up to their own tactics?