I visited the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York City the day after President Trump made the comment about “s—hole countries” (Haiti and African countries). Two of my favorite pieces were “Give a Damn. Mend America” (Lynne Michael 1969) and “Hate is a Sin” (Faith Ringgold 2007). Both were from the exhibit “An Incomplete History of Protests in America 1940-2017.”
That same day, Congressman Chris Smith (African Committee Chair) published a statement saying that an apology was required for the statements made by our president. Why is it always “a statement” after the fact? As constituents, we need to hear his voice, see him anywhere, even if it’s a live feed on Facebook. He needs to stand up to the hatred festering within his party. If you can’t find a way to do that maybe it is time to retire.
Smith was recently quoted as saying that the resistance has matriculated into hatred. We don’t hate Smith. We’ve just turned up the volume because he seems unalterably opposed to the idea of listening. His narrow focus and personal beliefs exclude too many people.
Smith spoke to a Catholic men’s group at a school in Toms River last year. A billboard on display at the school said “God loves each of us as if there were only one of us.” If Smith believes that, why is it that he can so easily and quietly stand by as this administration singles out group after group and deems them not worthy? Hate is a sin no matter who it’s directed at. When you exclude and judge, you hate.
This letter also appeared in the Asbury Park Press.