Letters: Stop the racial pandering and stick to issues

http://www.freep.com/article/20120122/OPINION04/201220456/Letters-Stop-the-racial-pandering-and-stick-to-issues

Letters: Stop the racial pandering and stick to issues

January 22, 2012

The national Republican establishment needs to address overt and subtle bigoted statements from GOP presidential candidates that are further polarizing our nation.

Though a number of boorish comments have been made during recent months of jockeying for the GOP presidential nomination, many comments made on and around our nation’s marking of Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Day truly show the lack of sensitivity to our country’s long history of racial and religious tension and how we need to move forward.

Former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich calling President Barack Obama the “food stamp president” takes us back three decades ago to when the GOP began using code words referring to African Americans as a means of galvanizing support from working-class whites, primarily Southerners.

Former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum’s black people on welfare comment (he claims to have said bleaugh people), despite the majority of American welfare recipients being white, is but another example of race-baiting to score cheap political points.

And as Santorum in recent months has openly called for Muslims to be profiled by law enforcement even though 94% of domestic terrorism attacks, thwarted or executed, within the last two decades have been committed by persons other than those of the Islamic faith, Gingrich also continues his Sharia

fear-mongering discourse while Texas Gov. Rick Perry refers to the government of secular Turkey as “Islamic terrorists.”

National Republican leadership should repudiate such racial and religious smearing and encourage presidential candidates to stick to the issues. Without it clearly and openly doing so, it will be seen as complicit in taking America back to a less tolerant time, which was not Dr. King’s dream.

Dawud Walid

Executive director Council on American-Islamic Relations-Michigan (CAIR-MI) Southfield

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