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LETTERS: Ken folk; Cruz control

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Ken folk

Dear Editor,

What was on their minds?

What was on the minds of Equality Illinois Political Action Committee ( EI PAC ) members when they decided not to endorse Illinois state Rep. Ken Dunkin?

It's my opinion that it was an organization's cowardly act, especially in light of Dunkin's progressive legislative record, and particularly in light of his legislative support on LGBTQ issues. Dunkin has supported all of the LGBTQ legislation that [Speaker of the Illinois House of Representatives] Mike Madigan has allowed out of "committee" and on the Illinois General Assembly floor for "consideration."

For example, Dunkin supported the last time LGBTQ-specific legislation that "hit" the House floor; he voted for state Rep. Kelly Cassidy's HB 217. That vote legislatively helped save our LGBTQ youth from suicidal behavior, depression, anxiety, drug use and risky sexual behavior and the psychological trauma associated with conversion therapy!

Did EI PAC endorsement committee members conveniently forget that it was Dunkin—as the legislative Black Caucus "Chamber" leader—who not only stood with US but spoke in support of marriage equality on the General Assembly's House chamber floor? Dunkin was one of the few African-American legislators who stood up and publicly urged others to vote in support of marriage equality before the vote was taken on the House floor.

Apparently, EI PAC's endorsing committee membership still isn't culturally diverse enough to understand how its political inaction would be perceived, and best described by what writer Max Gordon refers to as the "Cult of Whiteness" [in a Windy City Times series]. Only this time, it reared its ugly head in the endorsement process of EI PAC!

Although disappointed, I'm not surprised by the apparent political abandonment of Dunkin by EI PAC. Not endorsing Dunkin signals a lack of inclusiveness, fairness and respect to the same socially conservative, homophobic, faith-based community leaders who publicly promised to defeat Dunkin if he supported LGBTQ legislation.

Two years and three months later, the EI PAC endorsing committee isn't politically astute enough to ask itself and others why Dunkin is being solely signaled out for political punishment by Democratic Party loyalists.

Weren't there two other Democrats who also didn't vote to overturn the governor's veto of the public sector union collective bargaining rights? Why aren't either Illinois State Rep. Jack Franks or Illinois state Rep. Scott Drury facing challenges within their Democratic primaries? Why isn't either of them involved in a Democratic primary challenge? Why hasn't either being publicly vilified or bullied by members of their own party on the House floor?

What was on the minds of EI PAC endorsement committee? Clearly, NOTHING!

Michael O'Connor


* * * *

Cruz control

Dear Editor:

It is becoming likely that the Republican nominee for president will be either Donald Trump or Ted Cruz.

While Trump has rightly, in my opinion, been brought to task for his tepid disavowal of David Duke, former grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan, there has been near silence regarding Cruz's warm embrace of the hatred of Phil Robertson of Duck Dynasty fame. Introducing Cruz the day before the Iowa caucuses, Robertson urged the genocide of homosexuals: "We must rid the Earth of them." Cruz responded by stating that Robertson "is an unapologetic voice of truth." Since then, Robertson has been an integral part of the Cruz campaign, especially in South Carolina and Louisiana. Cruz has said that, if elected, he would seriously consider appointing Robertson to be U.S. ambassador to the United Nations.

It is imperative that voters be informed regarding the Cruz/Robertson alliance. Not only does the Chicago Tribune not publish letters containing such information, it instead publishes letters that support Cruz. This past week Michael Imhof of Aurora wrote that Cruz fights for "moral values" and "is an intelligent leader with courage and principles." If it is courageous, moral, and right to "rid the earth" of all homosexuals, then, clearly, the wrong side won World War Two.

Every American should be appalled at Cruz's endorsement of Robertson's hatred. Have we learned nothing from the 20th century? A candidate who endorses genocide of any kind, shape, form or flavor should be prima facie rejected. Based on the results in Iowa, Maine, Kansas, Texas, Oklahoma and Kansas, however, it is clear that pink triangles never go out of fashion.

The Republican Party of Illinois and Gov. Bruce Rauner should be ashamed that Cruz will be featured at the upcoming gala to be held in Chicago in the near-future.

Some may feel that Cruz has little chance of becoming president even if he were to secure the Republican nomination. A lot can happen, however, between now and November.

Ted Cruz must NOT under any circumstances be the Republican nominee. His enthusiastic embrace of Robertson and the hatred and ugliness that Robertson stands for must be publicized far and wide, repeatedly. This must not stand. Albeit tepidly, Trump has disavowed David Duke. With enthusiasm, Cruz has embraced Robertson. No more needs be said.

Sincerely yours,

Joe English


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