One of the most disturbing aspects of American politics today is how hate speech seems to have become acceptable to the body of politics. President Donald Trump and the Republican Party have become a megaphone for hate speech, resulting in a 17 percent increase in hate crimes over the last year, and of religiously affiliated hate crimes, nearly 60 percent targeted Jews and Jewish institutions.
The Santa Fe New Mexican reported that the number of hate crimes in New Mexico quadrupled between 2017 and 2018 (“FBI: Hate crimes in N.M. up fourfold,” Nov. 13). “At least three incidents of anti-Semitism in May raised alarms in Santa Fe of rising prejudice.” Scott Levin of the Anti-Defamation League poignantly stated, “Hate crimes really are message crimes … it’s sending a message to anyone that looks like you, prays like you or loves like you … of hate.”
The Republican Party may cower to Trump and abandon its moral compass while he holds office, I, however, will not — I simply refuse to remain silent when I see hate speech in action.
Recently, I called upon former CIA agent Valerie Plame to return contributions that she received from Holocaust deniers. Plame has a long history of spreading anti-Semitic information including that, “Jews owned the media,” Jews should wear labels while on national television and their beliefs are as dangerous as “rat poisoning.” She has been criticized by Chris Cuomo of CNN, Seth Frantzman of the Jerusalem Post, and the Washington Post gave her three “Pinocchios” for her misleading campaign video in which she claimed Ukrainian Jewish heritage to cover up her anti-Semitic tweets.
Recently, Steve Terrell of The New Mexican criticized my call for Plame to disclose her unitemized list of contributors and return money from Holocaust deniers (“Plame accusation by Serna goes too far,” Roundhouse Roundup, Nov. 10). He rationalized that since I have not disclosed all of my unitemized contributors, which total $13,072, that Plame should not have to disclose hers, which total $390,799.
Outside of the $377,727 disparity between our unitemized accounts, there is one overarching issue the column failed to address: Plame is the only Democratic candidate for the 3rd Congressional District with any history of endorsing and promoting anti-Semitic positions to her social media followers. Moreover, when called out for her endorsement and promotion of anti-Semitic views, Plame defended her actions; her apology came only after it was politically beneficial and necessary.
To resolve The New Mexican’s concerns, I have disclosed all of my unitemized contributions for the quarter on my website, at marcoforcongress.com/2019/11/19/marco-sernas-contributions-itemized. More importantly, I will continue to call upon Plame to disclose all of her contributors and to return contributions from Holocaust deniers.
I stand with members of the New Mexico Jewish community, including former Santa Fe Mayor Sam Pick, who stated, “there is no excuse, no rationale to excuse this type of rhetoric;” and Ron Duncan, president of the Jewish Federation of New Mexico, who stated, “Her past statements were so extreme that … it’s something I don’t understand how she can expect to simply ignore it and gloss it over,” which is exactly what is happening.
Hate speech and anti-Semitism are issues that divide our country and should be of concern to all Americans. I refuse to remain silent when a member of my own party promotes this type of hate speech. As Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. stated, “Our lives begin to end the day we become silent about things that matter.”
Marco Serna is a 3rd Congressional District candidate.