Editorial: How about some common sense, congressman?

08/19/2016 12:00 PM |

Since his election to Congress two years ago, this paper has covered Lee Zeldin’s (R-Shirley) efforts to ensure that certain East End concerns — helicopter noise, clean water, preserving Plum Island — are heard in Washington.

Although praising a congressman for taking care of constituent services is like congratulating an employee for punctuality, many representatives only begin to listen to their district when elections are closing in.

But our voice in the House of Representatives also has to speak about critical issues facing the country, and make a stand to protect and defend the Constitution when it faces dangers. One current danger is the possibility that Donald Trump will become president and commander-in-chief.

Mr. Zeldin, a longtime supporter of Mr. Trump, is still in his corner and still defending him, even in light of Mr. Trump’s increasingly erratic behavior.

If his campaign were merely ludicrous — exposing Mr. Trump on a daily basis as a third-rate person with an intellect to match — it would be cause for concern. But Mr. Trump’s use of “textbook racism,” as Speaker of the House Paul Ryan characterized his tirade against an American judge of Mexican descent, was beyond the pale. He has accepted racists as supporters — taking his time while campaigning in South Carolina before rebuking Klan leader David Duke’s support and then saying he’d consider supporting the sheeted one over a Democrat in Mr. Duke’s race for a Senate seat.

New York Times columnist Charles Blow summed up the textbook racism remark neatly: “… acceptance of racism is an act of racism. You are convicted by your complicity … Supporting Trump is indefensible and it makes you as much of a pariah as he is.”

How did Mr. Zeldin respond when asked about Mr. Trump’s racist remarks? He accused President Obama of being a racist. Maybe he was using sarcasm.

“You can easily argue that the president of the United States is a racist with his policies and his rhetoric,” Mr. Zeldin told CNN earlier this summer.

The Trump campaign filched images from an anti-Semitic website to attack his opponent. He has said the election might be rigged, which is taking a verbal sledgehammer to the cornerstone of American democracy. And he would institute an unconstitutional religious test to enter the U.S.

Nuclear weapons? Support for NATO? A high school student has a better grasp of these issues than the person who tops the GOP ticket.

There isn’t enough space here to list what Mr. Trump has done to diminish the value of common decency in public life.

And this is the person Mr. Zeldin endorses and supports.

In the CNN interview, after making some mealy-mouthed remarks about America being a melting pot that welcomes immigrants and adding that Mr. Trump made “regrettable” statements, Mr. Zeldin said supporting a candidate who has been accused of racism is no problem: “I don’t feel uncomfortable at all.”

Any voter in the 1st Congressional District with any common sense should feel more than uncomfortable about the judgment of our representative.

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