To the Editor:

Rep. Mike Bost,

I write this on the day of the Christchurch mosque shootings. On Feb. 11 you posted a piece on Ilhan Omar, a Muslim woman of color, falsely accusing her of being anti-Semitic because she objected to some of the policies of the State of Israel. The outpouring of hatred was abysmal, full of racism and religious intolerance. Today you're so very sorry about the shootings in New Zealand.

Your continuous promotion of bigotry is based on the human disposition to distrust those who are seen as different; the root of such distrust is the age-old refrain, "You're not like me!"

But this venom, once released, is not easily contained. The same "Muslims are not like me!" and "Brown people are not like me!" is the very poison that resulted in the shooting at the Congressional baseball practice — "Republicans are not like me!" — and the Tree of Life shooting — "Jews are not like me!" The fact that Trump was cited in this latest catastrophe should give you pause. Words have consequences.

Words have consequences. Hate crimes against Jews were up 17 percent in 2017, following the general trend toward violence against those perceived as other. I call on you to renounce Trump's hate speech and commit to not engaging in it yourself. Our country needs, and deserves, better.

Ann Wheeler


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