www.baltimoresun.com/news/opinion/readersrespond/bs-ed-immigrant-petition-letter-20110629,0,4575860.story

baltimoresun.com

Immigrant tuition petition: Politicians should stop demonizing those who disagree with them

7:30 AM EDT, July 1, 2011

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Your editorial "Petition hysteria" (June 28) left me shaking my head at my fellowRepublicans.

Del. Michael Smigiel's paranoia over the addresses of people signing the referendum petition to repeal in-state tuition breaks for undocumented immigrants is absurd.

Projecting evil motives onto the members of Casa de Maryland is precisely the kind of irrational charge that was leveled at my tea party months ago by Nancy Pelosi, President Obama and former president Clinton. All it did then was infuriate people who were previously level-headed.

Now Mr. Smigiel has done the same thing.

How ready we all are to believe the worst of our philosophical opponents and to warn of the danger they pose. If they oppose our view, they must be mad. If they vehemently oppose our view, they must be stark, raving lunatics.

The tea party's been around for months, and by now it is generally accepted as a peaceful movement despite the fear it first caused. Perhaps it has even helped speed along lawmakers' recognition of our debt problem.

The people of CASA are no more crazy than those in the tea party are. I've run across several of them personally. They're passionate, but they're not nuts. They're the kind of people you want to sit down with over a beer and have a good old-fashioned debate — the kind of exchange we used to have before we started projecting violent tendencies on each other.

That's not to say that Delegate Smigiel won't get some signs across from his lawn. But if he so fears his constituents getting in his face, then he shouldn't have run for public office. Controversy goes with the territory; just ask President Obama how he feels about our tea party getting in his face.

A little courage would do us all good. But for the love of God, stop projecting evil aspirations on your political opponents.

Fred Pasek, Frederick