The Honorable Tom Norton, Mayor
Dear Mr. Norton,
You have been mayor of the City of Greeley for nearly eight years. During that time, I have disagreed with some of your political positions, but I think it bears stating at the outset that you have done an admirable job of representing our town.
I am a Democrat - a left-leaning quasi-socialist who supported Bernie Sanders - but, I respect the value of difference of opinon in government of our country. I do not believe that we can be the nation to which we aspire without input from a broad spectrum of political ideas.
You have been a Republican for your entire political career, and you have been a reasonable, responsible steward of our trust, and while I disagree with many of your political beliefs I thank you for that stewardship.
However, it was recently reported by Colorado Public Radio that you were in attendance at a meeting of local GOP membership during which immigration policy was discussed in a manner that neither befits a man of your experience and intellect, nor works toward any manner of reasonable solution to the very real problems we have.
For this discussion to be made in terms of the following is unacceptable.
Michael Gale, who ate eggs at the table, liked the rules precisely because it they focus on seven Muslim-majority countries.
“We should only let people come in who are willing to assimilate into our culture. Our culture is Judeo-Christian. Their culture is warlord, murdering, lying, pedophile tyrants,” he said
I do not believe that this is an opinion that you share, and I recognize that today’s Republican Party is no longer the party of Reagan, or of George W. Bush, and that the very fact that your constituency requires that this kind of idea be tolerated, puts you in a difficult position, as is evidenced by your statement to the reporter.
Greeley Mayor Tom Norton, a Republican, said that he encourages patience when faced with these kind of complaints.
“When you walk down the street of Greeley, it’s a friendly community, and so you say ‘hi’ to a lot of people. But it takes a while for a refugee to learn some of the customs and the language.”
You, however, are in a unique, and, in my opinion, wonderful, position. You have the opportunity to demonstrate the leadership that served you so well as President of the Colorado Senate.
You can vocally, and unequivocally, condemn this rhetoric.
You can do as Senator John McCain famously did, in defense of his Presidential opponent, when President Barrack Obama’s religion was questioned in front of Senator McCain.
To characterize the entire population of people from seven countries as Mr. Gale did, is unacceptable in serious political discourse. Your party’s tolerance of this kind of hate is a significant part of the vitriolic impass we too often find ourselves facing in government today.
I implore you. Act as the better angels of your nature tell you. Condemn this kind of rhetoric. Lead your party away from this anger and hate.
In the words of John Stuart Mill, “Bad men need nothing more to compass their ends, than that good men should look on and do nothing.”
I choose to believe that you are a good man. You are now presented with the opportunity to show the citizens of Greeley the moral fortitude they have a right to expect of you.