For some reason last night I was reminded of this August 2010 post my co-founder Nate wrote about the Islamic community center proposed for Lower Manhattan and all the hysteria surrounding it. I re-read it and kept thinking about it in the context of the widespread fear in the past year.
It still holds true:
I definitely understand that 9/11 was a traumatic experience for all Americans and New Yorkers especially. And because the terrorists attacks were carried out in the name of Islam, it is not at all surprising that some Americans would feel uneasy about other members of that religion. But the pain of that day should not blind us to the fact that Islam is the second largest religion in the world and the vast majority of its followers are not terrorists and do not wish to kill innocent Americans. Our prejudices, not matter how understandable they may be, should not allow us to deny fundamental rights to other Americans.
In this case, having the government prevent the mosque would violate both the religious rights and property rights of the Cordoba Initiative (they own the building and are mostly free to do whatever they choose with it). Maybe the Cordoba Initiative could choose to stir less controversy and outrage by building the mosque somewhere else. But if they want to build the mosque there, they have the right to. Don’t like it? Too bad, we live in a free country.
This all brings me back to another point I have touched on several times before: every time we compromise our fundamental rights in the name of fighting “terrorism,” we are in fact advancing the terrorist cause. Religious pluralism, one of the foundations of American democracy, is antithetical to the jihadist ideology and when we compromise our ideals we create an America less free and more like the nation Al Qaeda would like to create.
Read the rest…
Massachusetts has historically been at the forefront in the United States on worker safety and labor rights, compensation, activism, and organizing. Organized labor has been and must remain a fundamental component of our economic structure. Without it, there is no significant force representing our workers on an equal level with management and owners.
Our courts must uphold the rights of workers – including state and municipal workers – to organize themselves and bargain collectively and cooperatively for compensation and benefits proportionate to their productive work, as well as safe workplaces and fair scheduling.
Our courts must uphold contracts signed with workers’ unions, particularly by the state or municipal governments. It is the responsibility of employers to negotiate contracts they can actually execute.
We cannot achieve economic justice without securing the rights of organized labor to fight for fair and living wages in our society.
Humphrey For Massachusetts: Organized Labor
Millennials are seriously underrepresented in our government at every level. We’re the largest generation alive right now and we’re going to deal the longest with the consequences – positive and negative – of the policies set today. My campaign for Governor’s Council is to represent all of us, but it is especially to help represent my generation. That’s why so many people our age are excited about this campaign.
In the face of a fresh round of disturbing attacks against Muslims and Muslim immigrants (or people perceived to be) across our nation, we need to re-affirm some core principles.
First, non-citizens and people of all faiths have constitutionally guaranteed rights and civil liberties in the United States, and these rights and liberties must be upheld and protected.
Second, all immigrants, whether permanent residents, asylum-seekers, refugees, or undocumented immigrants are all deserving of the same dignity as everyone else in our society. They play a vital role in all aspects of our communities and our economies, and they have made this nation great. No one should be discriminated against by the state, by employers, by public accommodations, or by their fellow residents because of their lack of citizenship. No one should be physically attacked or threatened because of their religion (or for any other reason, of course).
Third, we should strive to promote full integration, socially and legally, for all non-citizens in our nation at every opportunity, rather than seeking to exclude or partition people because of their origins. This mission we undertake for the stability of our communities, as well as to meet our moral obligation to our fellow men, women, and children – wherever they were born and whatever brought them to our shores.
We need someone speaking every single day to the media and other party members, without apology, for progress and for our values. This is important in any context, but it is of even greater importance with a conservative Republican governor and with Democrats taking on an opposing role.
We, the progressive core of the Massachusetts Democratic Party, are not merely right on the issues in idealistic terms; our solutions are actually more realistic and more grounded than the other side’s solutions. And when the other side occupies part of the space of our party and blurs the lines on critical issues, it becomes harder to win elections than it should be, rather than helping to retain seats in swing districts. While there is room for disagreement on policy specifics, there should be a broad alignment of values on the major and contentious issues of our time.
Voters want bold, clear, and courageous leadership in their officials. Leadership sometimes means leading the voters toward one’s point of view on the issues. We have to make our case, in plain terms, as to why we are correct on those issues.
We can only offer the voters an informed choice in making their decisions at the ballot box if we argue our case to them for our preferred positions on the issues.
Seeing grave injustices mounting publicly, abetted openly by some in our political system and many in our society, we are all called upon to stand up, step up, and speak out.
Since August 2014, I have been working to find ways to contribute to turning back this tide of bigotry and indifference toward rampant injustice. I have devoted many hours of my radio show and countless articles to exposing racial injustice and Islamophobia in our country. I have sought to amplify the voices of the unheard via the platform that I have.
I refuse to be a helpless bystander or hopelessly apathetic in the face of what is going on in this country. I would rather try to do something and fail, than to have done nothing at all. My values are meaningless if they remain inert and unvoiced.
I hope you will join me in this fight.