Rev. Peg Chemberlin

The Rev. Peg Chemberlin is the executive director of the Minnesota Council of Churches. She is the immediate past president of the National Council of Churches, an organization of 36 communions with 45 million constituents across the nation. Read more about Rev. Peg Chemberlin.

What Did He Say? What Did He Say?

Posted by: Rev. Peg Chemberlin Updated: September 15, 2009 - 6:57 PM

I have family and friends who vote differently from the way I vote. I have colleagues who wrestle with me about what will work in public policy and what won’t. We often don’t agree on policy but still we respect each other. We bring our values to the table and see what we can hash out. Is that too much to ask of our leadership?

Yesterday on "Anderson Cooper's 360" the following was the interaction between Cooper and TEA party leader Mark Williams:

Cooper: "I read on your blog, you say, you call the president an Indonesian Muslim turned welfare thug and a racist in chief."

Williams: "Yeah, that's the way he's behaving. He's certainly acting like it. Until he embraces the whole country what else can I conclude?"

“What else can I conclude?”  Are you serious, “What else can I conclude?”   Because President Obama wants to move the country out of the health care mess, you think that you must conclude that he is an "Indonesian Muslim welfare thug and a racist in chief"? There are so many issues with that phrase I don't know where to start. First, why tie thug to Indonesian or to Muslim? What does that mean? Second racist in chief, what? Is Republican leadership going to denounce this? We can do better than this. We have done better than this

You may not agree with how the President wants to do this.   But this isn't us. You may not agree with how he wants to do this. But we need to do something.  The current system cannot hold.  And reasonable, respectful voices are going to be the only way to get something done here together. 

Can we all commit to reasonable, respectful engagement? Can we conclude that we can work together to get something done? Can we decide to shun the unreasonable, disrespectful voices, to shut them out, to cut them off?  To say, this is not what we value in our interactions.  Time to call for a quieter conversation in order to make a difference, together.

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