TOM DAVIES: The Verdict — Hatemongers Draw Venom From Media Coverage

I got out of bed Sunday morning and absolutely knew what I was going to write this week. Then I picked up The Forum (that’s Fargo’s paper, in case you didn’t know) and saw an article by Robin Huebner that sent me off focus.

The article was on Lutheran Social Services of North Dakota and refugee settlement. It also focused on Jessica Thomasson, CEO of LSSND, as The Forum’s Person of the Year. (Every day KVLY-TV must kick itself in the behind for letting Huebner go. But I digress.)

What piqued my curiosity and set my blood pressure to “boil” was the criticism Jessica and LSS have received. We all know that every time ISIS (the voice of evil) sends a message, the American media ― the free mouthpiece of ISIS ― broadcast their warnings, and, of course, this makes people uncomfortable and scared.

The most obvious, hurtful and hateful result of this propaganda is that innocent people now living in this country are victimized, along with those who want to come here for safe haven to escape terrorism, murder and the results of war, specifically bombing of their own homelands.

People who are already our neighbors are ostracized while the entire Muslim community is blamed for the acts of radicals. The hatemongers in this country verbally attack innocent men, women and children because of their color or the clothing they wear ― attack them without mercy.

I spent 45 years in Fargo’s community court dealing with people of all nationalities and religions. I dare say that the most troublesome were the white American-born citizens, not foreign-born immigrants or refugees.

It’s terrifying to think that in Moorhead-Fargo, these anti-Muslim discriminatory attacks not only exist but are tolerated. Social media is where the cowards go to share most of their hateful comments, but letters to the editor of the newspaper are not far behind.

My mother-in-law spent her last years in Villa Maria. She had outstanding care; many of the staff were of foreign descent. I once struck up a conversation with two of them and found they were refugees. One had just been reunited with family members who had finally been admitted after years of waiting.

Their nationalities aren’t important here; what does matter is what they answered when I asked them, “Where did you learn to speak such good English?” They each said they came to this country for a new life. They knew that necessitated learning our language and our customs, and that’s what they did … good, decent people wanting and achieving a new life in the greatest country on this earth.

Yet, as the Huebner story points out, the South is not the only area of the country where prejudice and hatred exist. Stupid, uninformed and racist people exist in all parts of the country. Our area is no exception.

I live in North Dakota, where our Gov. Goofy was one of those who jumped aboard the “stop immigration” train that many governors boarded. Never mind that they wanted to ban people escaping from oppression and the results of our own bombing, which destroyed any semblance of residential life in their Syrian cities.

With nothing to stay for, with nothing to go back to, the refugees flock to this country ― but remember, you who want to lock them out, that many European countries, as well as some Arab nations, already are accepting the vast majority of these refugees.

Decent people have to stand up to this bigotry. Yes, there are bad people everywhere … but we need not stop all because of the actions of a few.

When President Obama militarily referred to ISIS, when compared to America, as a “junior varsity team,” he was being generous. Compared to the military might of this nation, they are nothing. He’s trying to keep us out of a war in the Middle East that will never end: We (or others) invade. We win. We leave. The people we tried to control come back, and the status quo returns.

And at what cost? I, for one, do not want one more American life lost in a war that should be fought by the locals.

This brings me back to LSSND and The Forum’s Person of the Year. Well done, Forum! Well done, LSS … and most particularly, well done, Jessica Thomasson! Your leadership and that of your staff, as reported by Robin Huebner reflect well on true American values where leadership truly counts.

You have provided the leadership! The citizens of this area should stand up and support you against the bullies who complain about everything and anything you do. We need more people to stop being bystanders and to stand up to others who tear down our standards and ridicule those less fortunate than they are.

The political climate in this country gives rise to the type of criticism LSS receives. When political candidates ― of any party ― want to bomb the hell out of our enemies … ridicule and insult women … call our leadership “stupid” … make false promises of what they can do … want to build walls between this country and Mexico and even Canada … this is what you can expect.

When the media give blanket coverage to all candidates of both parties with the exception of one, and that one candidate happens to have drawn more crowds, more on-line donations and more individual support than all the others combined … this is what you can expect.

I’m old enough to remember great newsmen like Edward R. Murrow, Walter Cronkite, Tom Brokaw and Ted Koppel. These men knew what the media really stand for. And without them … well, this is what you can expect. Amen.

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