On August 24, 2017, I received an email from Senator Pat Toomey, about whom I’ve written before, most recently in my entry on why I can’t vote republican in good conscience. This shouldn’t be a huge surprise, since I’ve been on his mailing list since he took office and inherited the email mailing list from his predecessor, Arlen Specter.
Here is the text of the full email, unedited other than to add the HTML tags necessary to display it on my web page:
This past week our nation was rocked by tragedy in Charlottesville, VA. The acts we saw were a horrifying reminder that there are still those who seek only to divide us.
The racism, hatred, and violence seen in Charlottesville were vile and unacceptable. I am disgusted by white nationalists, white supremacists, and neo-Nazis and believe the racism and hate spewed by these groups have no place in our society.
Furthermore, there can be no moral equivalency between neo-Nazis, bigots, white supremacists, and those who oppose them. Our country has no room for corrupt ideology or violent acts.
I hope that what occurred in Charlottesville will be an isolated incident. Moving forward, I pray that members of Congress will put politics aside, unequivocally condemn hate and bigotry, and find ways to work together to protect our shared American values of equality and justice for all.
My response to the senator is a simple one: go fuck yourself.
All right. Maybe a little more explanation is needed. On first reading of this statement, it’s hard to find anything to disagree with in the Senator’s words and I readily concede that. But there are three glaring facts that must be explained satisfactorily before my response would become anything close to a positive reflection on the senator or his words.
- The timing of his email. It was sent out twelve days after the Unite the Right rally that he himself cites in his message. Nearly two weeks passed between the message of that rally and his condemnation. More than a week between the most recent statement of the president of the United States and his attempts to draw an equivalency between the protesters and counter-protesters. (And I’m not above being the target of the same criticism as I’m writing this blog entry a week after I received the email. My excuse is that I haven’t been feeling well and I don’t have a paid staff to compose talking points…)
- The cowardice of what wasn’t mentioned in his message. You will note that he doesn’t specifically call out anyone who was making the false equivalency between the xenophobic individuals and those who would oppose them. Is he assuming that people will just conveniently forget that it was Donald Trump himself who made that asinine statement? The president of the United States and the leader of the political party of which Senator Toomey is a member? This isn’t the first time that Toomey has shown himself to be a coward with respect to Donald Trump. Recall that he didn’t even reveal that he had voted for Trump until late in the day on Election Day… Even though he was an early member of a political movement that made Trump possible.
- And the most damning of all, he has been pitching racist dog whistles for years. You see it every time he makes arguments against sanctuary cities or affirmative action. His biggest pushes have always been to reduce or eliminate taxes that disproportionately hit white, well-to-do men, sometimes to the benefit of women and minorities. He is right in the middle of an economic and political movement that seeks to divide us along racial, ethnic, and gender lines. And now that that movement has clearly aligned itself with people he’d rather not want it aligned with, he sees it fit that he look the other way. Call them a basket of deplorables if you’d like, Senator, but they’re still your people.
So I’ll say it again, Senator: go fuck yourself. You’re a disgrace and a coward who doesn’t deserve to hold the seat in the senate that once belonged to such great people as Robert Morris, Boies Penrose, George Pepper, Richard Schweiker, Arlen Specter, or even James Buchanan.