At a Forest Hills Kiwanis Club meeting a couple of months ago, Congressional candidate Bob Turner spoke about how members of the two parties need to do a better job of working together.
It was a good talk, although I wondered at the time why senior members of either party would listen to this effort by
a rookie politician.
A lengthy conversation with his campaign manager afterwards provided little in the area of specific answers.
Unfortunately, the real answer seemed to come in the form of ads in local newspapers and e-mails promoting a rally concerning the community center and mosque being planned for downtown.
In both, Turner talks about offering freedom of speech, but only for those opposed to the project. This would indicate his plan is to work together with other members of Congress, but only those who agree with his views.
In spite of the candidate’s rhetoric the first time I heard him, it is clear that Bob Turner is planning to continue the business-as-usual practices that have hurt our government in recent years.
He got it right at the Kiwanis meeting- members of Congress with different views need to work together to find workable solutions.
However, this doesn’t seem to be his real plan. As a rookie candidate, he seems to have also missed the idea that the downtown mosque and community center is not an issue to be faced by Congress.
Even worse, Bob Turner seems to need a lesson in the basics of our country’s foundations.
Freedom of speech for people supporting one opinion and not a dissenting opinion is not freedom of speech at all. Both sides of the mosque battle have exercised their views, with the opinion of one side-the one he is encouraging additional “freedom of speech” for- possibly resulting in hate crimes in New York and elsewhere.
It has reached the point where Cardinal Egan has encouraged a reduction in the public debate. In spite of this, Turner goes forward promoting freedom of speech only for those agreeing with him. It’s a dangerous precedent for any candidate for public office.
Before running for office, Bob Turner needs some remedial civics lessons. Until he takes that action, we should not encourage his campaign for office in any form, and should not support him on Election Day.