Featured Letter: It’s not up to the candidate to maintain order

10/23/2014 7:00 AM |
State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions Wednesday night in Riverhead.

State Senator Lee Zeldin (left) and Congressman Tim Bishop (right) took turns a podium in Polish Hall to address questions in Riverhead two weeks ago. (Credit: Grant Parpan)

To the editor:

I read your editorial on the Bishop vs. Zeldin debate at Polish Hall in Riverhead. The opinion is simply a bias attitude showing through. Stating that the candidate is responsible for the level of vigor or decorum of supporters or detractors is simply not true. Although asking for a return to civility would be welcome, the moderator has the responsibility to maintain the decorum of the audience as well as to allow both sides to answer the questions. As the level of decorum rises to a level of distraction that cannot be controlled, then the moderator has the obligation to end the debate.

One might say that Congressman Bishop’s statements about the tea party being at fault for current gridlock exacerbated the decorum. The gridlock he cites has been around long before there ever was a tea party. Compromise “is a four-letter word in Washington,” Mr. Bishop chided. Please explain to me how compromise can come about when bills passed by the people’s house languish in the Democratic-controlled Senate without debate or hope of ever moving forward.

I am tired of all those individuals who continue to call those who only ask that our government be bound by the confines of our Constitution extremists. Look to ISIS if you want to learn what an extremist is. We, the people, have more in common, more that brings us together than that divides us. We have only to stop the rhetoric political discord and follow the Constitution. We must return to a time when “doing the right thing” was more important then raising funds and finger-pointing.

But more to the point, controlling the decorum of a debate, any debate, is the responsibility of those holding the debate. When they can not maintain that decorum, they are at fault.

Robert Bittner Sr., Mattituck

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