Sixth District Republican Candidate David Vogt appears to think he is running against Eighth District Democratic Candidate Jamie Raskin. Yesterday, he issued a press release attacking Raskin for “dangerous political correctness”:
“Senator Raskin’s letter is evident of how dangerous and disturbing political correctness can be,” Vogt commented. “As representatives, we owe it to our constituents to place their safety and security above all else. Senator Raskin’s irresponsible approach would instead make Maryland a more dangerous place.”
“Until we have an effective and secure vetting process, Maryland should close its borders to anyone with potential terrorist ties. That’s the only way we can be sure that we are keeping Marylanders safe,” Vogt concluded.
Vogt attacked Raskin for this letter, which Raskin authored and many Maryland legislators signed, to express support for Syrian refugees in the face of the fear incited by Gov. Larry Hogan and many other Republicans:
It’s easy to pick on Syrian refugees. They’re Arab. Most are Muslim. Understandably, many Americans fear terrorism and turmoil originating in that part of the world.
As Vogt likes to remind us–it’s mentioned twice at the beginning and twice again at the end of this short press release–he was a decorated marine who served this country well in Afghanistan. That honorable service and risking of life in our country’s defense deserves to be honored.
But it also takes guts to stand up in support of an unpopular and highly vulnerable group. Raskin isn’t being politically correct here. He’s standing up in support of the very ideals that we’re grateful to Vogt for defending even as I disagree with his stance here.
I’m no fan of political correctness–it’s often overbearing and tiresome. Moreover, it makes it easier for bigots like Donald Trump to brand Mexican immigrants as rapists and criminals in the name of fighting political correctness.
Real leadership, however, is often not about whipping up fear but promoting calm. As John Oliver has pointed out, this country has an extensive vetting process for Syrian refugees–a fact that somehow never seems to get mentioned in these calls to keep them out.
Whatever you think of Raskin’s stance, it’s a principled one. It’s easy for leaders to go along with the majority but we should also admire when they’re willing to defend passionately and cogently a minority view. It shows a lot more political courage than Vogt’s press release.