Steve Mistler from the Portland Press Herald has reported on the letter Senate Democratic leadership sent to Senate President Thibodeau regarding the racist and bigoted remarks made by Sen. Willette of Aroostook. You can read his post here: Maine Senate Democrats ask Republican president to condemn senator’s ISIS post.

The Senate Democratic caucus stands united in their repudiation of Sen. Willette’s remarks. What is most concerning is the long-standing nature of these comments; it was not merely one post or one episode, it’s a pattern. In the Alfond-Hill letter, they say, “As elected officials, we are–and should be–held to a higher standard. And to that end, we should hold each other accountable.”

To date, Republican leadership has been silent on the issue–and this is concerning. The Senate Democrats’ letter says it best, “As Americans, we ask today that as a legislative body, we unite and not look the other way or tolerate words of hate and racism. To do so, is to condone it, to agree with it, and to be complicit in the violence for which it perpetuates.” (You can read the letter in its entirety below and attached)

The Greg Kesich from the Portland Press Herald also editorialized on the issue. (Greg Kesich: Maine officials’ racial jokes show lack of progress)

You could describe what’s happening here as “the inanity of evil,” where distorted notions about how the world works get circulated in the form of inane jokes that make the ideas seem normal. As the jokes get passed around the social network, they reinforce fear and resentment, giving racial discrimination what it needs to grow.

This is not just about passing on a few bad jokes or hurting someone’s feelings. Spreading these posts hardens the receivers to prejudice that does actual harm to fellow Americans..

This is not an issue that is based in party-ideology or politics. It is one that extends to the core of who we are as Americans–and what so many have courageously fought for in making our country equal.

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