Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Your Views

Newspaper article The Record (Bergen County, NJ)

Your Views

Article excerpt

Unpresidential verbiage abounds

Regarding "Surveillance debate keeps Christie topical" (Page A- 1, Nov. 23):

I read that Governor Christie told Secretary of State John Kerry to "shut up." He also accused President Obama of "living in a fantasy land." This raised my level of concern about the electorate in the United States. The voting public seems to embrace, rather than reject, the urban street language used by presidential candidates when they attack their opponents.

There is no defining event that one can point to and say, "This is when candidates' personal attacks crossed the line of decency." It's insidious. The change happens unnoticed over time.

In 1988, during the vice presidential candidates' debate, Dan Quayle compared himself to former President John F. Kennedy. Lloyd Bentsen countered by saying that he knew Kennedy and, speaking directly to Dan Quayle, said, "You're no Jack Kennedy." He didn't say to Quayle that he was "living in a fantasy land" or to "shut up." He used the language of a respected political leader.

It's disturbing that Donald Trump and Christie are letting the street language genie out of the bottle. It's more disturbing that the American voter accepts this abusive rhetoric as commonplace. As this trend continues -- after all, you can't put the genie back in the bottle -- the new normal will be that a candidate has to be unpresidential to get elected president.

Alan M. Kaplan

Wanaque, Nov. 23

Syrian refugees raise passions

Regarding "Humanity first" (Editorial, Nov. 19), "Dealing with Syrian refugees" (Your Views, Nov. 19) and "Killing Islamic State with cliches" (Other Views, Nov. 19):

What a glorious layout spread before a world under siege were your editorials and letters last Thursday.

You compare the Syrian refugees, who may have been infiltrated by ISIS, to Japanese-Americans who were unfairly persecuted after Pearl Harbor. Among the letter writers are grandchildren of refugees who think the conditions of 70 years ago apply today.

We get the usual from columnist Dana Milbank, who thinks it is the Republicans who are at fault for talking tough in response to President Obama's cowardice. And let's not forget political cartoons of Republican elephants kicking little children.

I've read your review of "The Man in the High Castle" ("What if the good guys had lost?" Page BL-1, Nov. 19). Try and imagine what life would be like under radical Islam. I'm sure the enemy will find no shortage of quislings to help them in their ghastly cause, just like the Nazis did.

Wallington M. Simpson

Suffern, N.Y., Nov. 20

*

Mine is the face of a refugee. You may know me as a former mayor, as an entrepreneur who created new jobs, or as a participant in numerous non-profits.

But like the founders of our country who escaped religious persecution, and the millions who followed them, I am a refugee who finally found welcome in our blessed country. Because of American reluctance to admit refugees during the Great Depression, it took my family five years of effort to stay ahead of the Nazi hordes, and such delays eventually exterminated my father-in-law, who was gassed on a cattle train to Poland.

For hundreds of years, our country has benefited from the contributions of each wave of immigrants who reached our shores, including several first-generation presidential candidates. Have we not yet learned our lesson?: Immigrants create jobs, enhance our economy and our cultural scene and are no more dangerous than their forebears.

Isn't it time we opened our doors to the thousands of victims of religious wars, rather than bear witness, once more, to the death of millions of innocents?

Sophie Heymann

Closter, Nov. 23

The writer is a former mayor of Closter. …

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