August 15th, 2010
09:02 AM ET

Letters to the President #573: “A book and its cover”

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Reporter's Note: President Obama has to rely on a lot of other folks to put his policies into place. It’s kind of like moving when you’re young and you call some friends to help carry the boxes. But, in lawmaking, like moving, you’ve got to be a little careful whose company you keep. Especially if one of them might start saying things to annoy the neighbors.

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Dear Mr. President,

Senate Majority Leader, and your fellow Democrat, Harry Reid said something last week that I think was ill-considered at best, and insulting at worst. I know that Republicans have jumped all over him on this matter, and I’m not taking their side, but I’ve heard this sort of thing before from people in both political parties and it really bugs me. (Not quite like the bed bug infestation they are fighting in New York, but still.)

In case you missed it, Sen. Reid said “I don't know how anyone of Hispanic heritage could be a Republican.”

Really? To me, a cornerstone of respect for the rights and opinions of others is recognizing that their ideas are determined by more than their skin color or heritage. It’s just that simple. Imagine how demeaning it would be to say, “I don’t see how any woman could be against abortion rights.” Or “I don’t see how any gay or lesbian could have supported John McCain.” Or “I don’t see how any African American person could have voted against President Obama.” I can understand that people who have strong beliefs may find it puzzling that others disagree with them. But just looking at someone’s family tree and pronouncing that person all boxed up based on your expectations is unfair.