Saturday, June 12, 2010

Infidels in Montco

The Montgomery County Republicans recently held a re-organization meeting. You can read the details in the Times Herald article "Kerns keeps GOP chair," by Keith Phucas (6/07). Some of the remarks by Bob Kerns have been commented on in a number of online communities:

Kerns, who drew laughter and applause from the audience during his speech, congratulated new committee members.

“We need you in this fight,” he said. “We’re fighting those Democrats — those infidels — all the time, and we need your help.”

Kerns said the county party is fielding high-caliber candidates ready to compete against Democrats for local and General Assembly seats and has raised $1.3 million in the past two years, “more than any county in the state.”

The infidel remark is an odd one. I'm not sure why he would use that word. It hearkens back to the Crusades and carries a lot of baggage. Given that American soldiers are fighting and dying in the Middle East and that terrorist plots on the home front are a concern, I think Mr. Kerns could have chosen another term to describe the party rivalry.

Marcel Groen, the chair of the Montgomery County Democrats, has written an op-ed response to Mr. Kerns. the full document is available on the Pennsylvania Progressive. Here is an excerpt:
Politics is not a crusade. At its best, it is a debate between competing visions and beliefs, and in our country that means a debate between our two main political parties. I may disagree with my opponents and their views, but I respect them and realize that the country we all love is better off for that legitimate and spirited debate.

The so-called infidels that Mr. Kerns referred to in his speech are his neighbors. Like his righteous Republicans, those infidels coach Little League, volunteer in the community, attend the same churches, synagogues and mosques that Republicans attend and they are defending our country in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Casting one's political counterparts as evil might work on a national stage but on the local level where people do, indeed, interact daily and teach, lead, guide, and mentor each other's children, sit next to each other in religious settings, and live next door to each other, a little more discretion should be used.

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