Letter to the Editor: Charlottesville and Toxic Rhetoric
As an entrepreneur and business owner, I was proud to build a multinational company with thousands of employees representing every gender, ethnicity, color and creed. Our diversity helped the company to grow, helped families to build better lives, and opened doors of opportunity for some people that may not have been open for their parents and grandparents.
I tell that story because in my life, whether it was in business or now in public service, or through the work of our family charitable foundation across the globe, or at our church, and especially when my wife and I adopted two beautiful children from Korea – the color of one's skin or their ethnicity was never the measure of a person for me. What is far more important, as Dr. King reminded us, is the content of one’s character.
The Courier-Post recently published a letter to the editor that stated: "Now people are dead in Charlottesville. Tom MacArthur's hands are still not clean." So, upon entering politics, while I expected to be called many things, an unrepentant racist who was complicit in the murder of innocent people hundreds of miles away wasn't one of them.
But, unfortunately, that's the state of public discourse in America right now. It is toxic and hate-filled. People across the partisan spectrum are increasingly using inflammatory rhetoric to make their point, or attract attention to their agenda or themselves.
We need to be better than this. President Donald Trump must be better; members of Congress and politicians in both parties must be better; the media, which is too often biased and even dishonest, must be better; and Americans on the fringe of the political left and political right must be better. Each has played a role in getting us to this point, and each has an obligation to move us past it.
What happened in Charlottesville was despicable and tragic. Decent people must utterly reject white supremacists, the KKK, and their hateful and perverse ideology. Many of our parents or grandparents fought in World War II to rid the world of Nazism across Europe; allowing it to rise again on our shores is unacceptable. People of good moral conscience must stand against it.
We must call out prejudice, intolerance and violence wherever it exists, whoever perpetrates it, and whatever part of the political spectrum with which they identify.
We, as a nation, should have an open and honest dialogue about all that is dividing us, but let's recognize that this can't happen if we're screaming at and vilifying each other.
Each of us must look in the mirror and honestly consider whether we are helping to heal our nation or widening the divide. May God help us to be healers. I'm asking all of you reading this to help lower the volume. Only then will we be able to hear one another speak.
U.S. Rep. Tom MacArthur
R-3rd Congressional District
This Letter to the Editor first appeared in the Courier-Post here