Editor’s note: The author asked to share this letter to Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) It does not necessarily reflect the views of this publication.
As a student of history, I have long been vexed by the motivations for those who could’ve stopped Hitler and did not. The countless politicians, industry leaders and military officials who stood in his way and then just casually stepped aside allowing him to perpetrate war crimes on a scale that western civilization had not seen up to that point and lead the world into the most destructive war in human history.
Was it callousness, anger, hatred, stupidity that motivated them to not say or do anything to stop him?
After observing the actions by you and your fellow members of Congress since Jan. 21, it has become very evident that it is not any of these reasons that causes supposedly good people to turn a blind eye towards fascism. It’s cowardice. Cowardice by those elected to serve all the citizens not just the ones who voted for them.
I’ve watched you tell high school students that you “haven’t come around to gay marriage being legal yet.” I watched you avoid answering questions about controversial issues like abortion, immigration and almost any other issue with the slightest hint of controversy surrounding it. I thought that the depths of your cowardice ran only that deep.
To watch you stand by idly as Trump signs executive order after executive order marginalizing the most vulnerable in our society…
To observe you say nothing to the constant race-baiting and hate that were hallmarks of his presidential campaign…
To read your e-newsletters where you discuss how Republicans can finally accomplish their legislative goals now they have complete power and then do nothing to speak up when the President subverts the constitutional powers of the legislature by passing unconstitutional executive orders in violation of the basic rights established in the Bill of Rights…
These show that your cowardice runs even deeper than I could have imagined.
The names of people who enabled fascists throughout history are known not for the tax reforms they passed, the budgets they helped create or the other legislative deals they helped craft. They are remembered in history as those whose personal ambition, cowardice and spinelessness caused them to stand by and do nothing to stop the march of dictators.
Names like von Papen and Chamberlain. People who could’ve been barriers and yet did nothing. In 25 years, when the history books are written do you think your legacy is going to be any different if you don’t stand up to your fellow Republican Donald Trump and his policies?
I once spoke with pride of working for a United States Congressman. Now I am embarrassed to even tell people I worked for you and crafted your schedule to help you get re-elected time after time.
At the end of the day it is pitiful to think I once worked for a Congressman who can’t even stand up in the face of fascism because of the fear of losing his cushy seat.
I can promise you that I will work tirelessly over the next two years to ensure that a new representative, who actually speaks up for the ideals that this country was founded on, is occupying the Congressional seat for the 11th district in 2018.
Former District Scheduler
11th Congressional District
Morristown resident Daniel Johnson was a scheduler for Rep. Rodney Frelinghuysen (R-11th Dist.) from 2012-2013. He works as a photographer and is a member of NJ 11th for Change.