Two letters, two approaches. Nan Lund provides 2 examples of factual and sincere rebuttals to a recent letter to the editor. Words are important. Which reads best?

LETTER A – Factual and sincere, calm & collected

What do you look for in an elected official?

In a My Turn post August 3, the writer argued that Lieutenant Governor of North Carolina, Mark Robinson, is the best candidate to be the Governor of our state. She notes his rise from poverty to high office and his well-known disposition for speaking out against any cause, group, or person he sees as indefensible. While these characteristics may seem to some as qualifications for leading our state, I offer a different opinion.

My vision for persons to represent us is to look for those with, above all, good character. I want our elected officials to be accepting of multiple opinions and voices; accepting of persons of other races, religions, sexual preferences, and genders. I want them to be kind and understanding about the difficulties that others experience. I want them to be a unitor, not a divider. I want them to be oriented to solving problems, looking to multiple sources of wisdom and experience and listening to diverse points of view when making decisions that affect us all. I don’t expect to agree with my ideal candidate on all things, but I want to know
that my opinions will be heard and respected.

In following the statements that Mr. Robinson has made in many venues and over several years, I do not think that he has the characteristics that I look for in a Governor or other elected official. When I examine the groups and causes with whom he has affiliated, I feel that he has chosen companions that represent some of the most divisive groups in our country today that proudly support and advocate hate toward others that differ from them.

Does it matter who we elect? I think it does. Governors support and enforce the laws of the state and can veto bills that come from the legislature if they seem not to be in the best interest of the people of the state. They make appointments that affect all aspects of our daily lives, from regulations that protect our health and safety, our economic progress, and our physical health and well-being. They represent us in forums that affect how North Carolina is judged by others who may view it as a good or poor place to locate as a business or a family. We have seen how some Governors have shaped opinions of their state as they impose rules and restrictions that have negative consequences.

If we want to be a state where our children get the best education, where they want to stay and establish families and business, where others want to settle, we need to look very carefully at the what the candidates for this important position are saying.

LETTER B – Factual and sincere, a bit of heat

Is he a man for a time such as this?

The writer of the My Turn on August 3 argues that Lieutenant Governor Mark Robinson is such a man and should be elected governor of North Carolina. I would argue that unless we want someone representing our state who is proudly homophobic, antisemitic, anti-choice, misogynist, and anti- education, he is clearly not the man. He describes anyone who does not fit into a very specific lane of gender and sexuality as “filth” that make him sick.

Robinson believes there are hidden plots everywhere, including Jewish bankers working with China, Islamic leaders, and the CIA to control the world. He disparaged African Americans’ appreciation of the “Black Panther” movie, stating it was “created by an agnostic Jew and put on film by a satanic Marxist. He refers to Black people as “Schvartze” which is a Yiddish pejorative. He does not support reparations for Black people for the hundreds of years of slavery and discrimination. In fact, he feels African Americans are the ones that should pay because, as he shouted at an audience of African Americans, “someone was whipped for us in the slave field or had to walk through Jim Crow for us”. Hmmm. Great logic or a blatant appeal to the same people who believe hateful things about Jews and the LGBTQ community?

He is a fan of multiple conspiracy theories, an interest that he shares with such notables as Alex Jones, who denies the Sandy Hook school shooting, and MyPillow Guy Mike Lindell the election denier. Robinson has said he “would not be surprised” if 9/11 was an inside job” and the moon landing was faked. These guys give conspiracy theorists a bad name. This is a far cry from conspiracies about aliens and parapsychology.

Robinson spent considerable time in his 2018 campaign attacking the victims and survivors of the Parkland, Florida school shooting where 17 died; he described the students from the school as “spoiled, angry, know-it-all CHILDREN”. He was originally scheduled to speak at the ReAwaken America tour later this month, but apparently has withdrawn. This event has been described by the Anti-Defamation League as “a series of controversial far-right conferences …featuring QAnon influencers, anti- vaccination activists, election fraud conspiracy theorists, Christian pastors, political candidates, and elected officials”. The event founder is Clay Clark who is currently being sued for defaming Dominion Voting Systems.

Robinson was one of the high-profile speakers at the second annual summit of Moms for Liberty in July, an organization that despite its friendly sounding name. has been deemed a political extremist group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, putting it on a par with Patriot Front, a white nationalist group, and Proud Boys, of January 6 fame. At this meeting he claimed that dictators like Hitler and Mao are being taken out of contexts and that their texts are worth considering. So we should get rid of The Diary of Anne Frank in our school libraries and instead install Mao’s little red book?

If Robinson hasn’t offended you yet, keep listening. Given the platform of the campaign, he will probably manage to offend all progressives and, hopefully, many moderates. We need to keep reminding folks that he is NOT the man for a time like this.

Nan Lund