An open letter to Rodney Frelinghuysen: Put country before party

Thomas Paine statue at Burnham Park, Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
Thomas Paine statue at Burnham Park, Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin
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Editor’s note: The author asked to share his letter to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.). The opinions expressed here are the author’s, and do not necessarily reflect those of this publication.

Hon. Rodney Frelinghuysen
U.S. Congress, 11th District, New Jersey

March 5, 2017

Congressman,

As the news unfolds on a daily basis of the intemperate actions of the Executive branch and the erratic and irresponsible behavior of Mr. Trump, it becomes clear our government is careening in an uncharted direction, with no way of predicting the consequences, both domestically and globally.

The recent address to the Joint Houses of Congress demonstrated nothing of factual substance or detail to support the bleak picture of our society or the promises of making America great, but rather another opportunity to feed an insatiable appetite for self-congratulation.

Two overarching threats to our nation and its people are emerging.

Thomas Paine's 'Common Sense,' writ large in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin, Oct 7, 2014
Thomas Paine’s ‘Common Sense,’ writ large in Morristown. Photo by Kevin Coughlin

An agenda is driven by a radical right wing philosophy that wishes to staunch the perceived challenge to America as a “white” nation by groups who do not fit the approved profile, and is manifest in the false claims of open borders, lax vetting of immigrants, violent black insurgence, threats from non-Christian religions, and the claim of millions of illegal ballots cast in the last election.

The clear goal, as evidenced by Executive Orders from the administration, is the expulsion and suppression of minorities, the rollback of civil liberties of women and the LGBT community and the reduction of political opposition. The enemies are identified as the Judiciary, the Media, the Intelligence Community and Science, to name a few.

We have witnessed the unprecedented incursion into our election cycle by a hostile foreign power intent on undermining the democratic process of selecting our leadership. The agencies charged with uncovering these actions have provided a unanimous verdict of the dimensions of the attack and a clear line to the perpetrator, yet the president has refused to accept this information or act upon it. Rather, he has suggested Mr. Putin is a man he respects.

We are now seeing a growing number of highly placed individuals in our administration who have had numerous contacts with agents of Mr. Putin’s government, all denying sinister intent, but the emerging patterns suggest otherwise, and threaten the independence of our government free of external influence.

Thomas Paine lived at a time of similar threats in our history, when he wrote “these are the times that try men’s souls.” In Common Sense, the document that help set the course for a new nation, he spoke to those who would equivocate in the face of tyranny:

“Men of passive tempers look somewhat lightly over the offences of Great Britain, and, still hoping for the best, are apt to call out, ‘Come, come, we shall be friends again for all this.’ But examine the passions and feelings of mankind: Bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me whether you can hereafter love, honour, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon posterity.”

As Representative of the people in your district, you are accountable for upholding the rights of your constituents above party allegiance. With due respect for your office and your standing in the community, we ask you to address the emerging danger to our democracy and exercise your duties with courage.

Sincerely,

Richard Kushnier
Wayne, NJ
11th Congressional District

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10 COMMENTS

  1. I fear that Rep. Frelinhuysen has neither the courage, nor the will to fight for our country. If any Republican steps up, it will not be him.

  2. Frelinghuysen’ regularly scheduled office hours every Wednesday 9-4 @ the Wayne muni bldg 475 Valley rd Wayne nj 07470 with a member of his staff.

    Further details and updates @ Facebook page IndivisibleWayneNJ.

  3. I heartily agree. Especially following Rep. Frelinghuysen’s statement just last night, in this very same news outlet, that we should “give Trump a chance.” These words of the letter above particularly ring true:

    “‘Bring the doctrine of reconciliation to the touchstone of nature, and then tell me whether you can hereafter love, honour, and faithfully serve the power that hath carried fire and sword into your land? If you cannot do all these, then are you only deceiving yourselves, and by your delay bringing ruin upon posterity.’

    “As Representative of the people in your district, you are accountable for upholding the rights of your constituents above party allegiance. With due respect for your office and your standing in the community, we ask you to address the emerging danger to our democracy and exercise your duties with courage.”

    Yes! Please do, Rep. Frelinghuysen!

  4. I hope our Congressman is listening. To date, he doesn’t appear to be hearing our concerns.

  5. Mr. Kushnier,
    Thank you for so eloquently expressing how many of us feel. The fear and uncertainty are new to us. We beg Rep. Frelinghuysen to do his duty.

  6. Wonderful letter!
    Constituents above Party definitely, I do not see the Rublicans as traitors…I doubt any of them voted for Russian collusion and dictatorship. This is a pivotal time in history where we need to ALL be awake, tuned in and responsive to Washington DC….taking to the streets if necessary till Democracy is secured from foreign dictators directions.

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