Divisive rhetoric

To the Editor:

I am writing in response to the letter by Annlinn Kruger in the June 15 edition. There are four main points I attempted to make in my talk during the Bar Harbor town meeting.

First, the problem of terrorism is recognized as serious by virtually every nation-state.

Second, many nation-states, terrorist organizations and various groups not connected with a nation-state or terrorist organization meddle in our culture, society and politics.

Third, this meddling may be innocuous or intended to weaken our resolve by dividing us on issues that they perceive as negatively affecting them. The wording of the sanctuary community document drives a wedge between local and federal law enforcement much to the delight of those who would divide us.

Finally, as we buy into this unnecessary and divisive rhetoric, we become de facto agents of those who wish to harm us.

I am not opposed to welcoming immigrants into our community and treating them justly. Mount Desert Island could benefit by having a more diverse community. Immigrants are not necessarily terrorists, and terrorists are not necessarily immigrants. However, terrorism is a very real problem in our highly connected world.

The immigration services in our country and other countries play a role in ferreting-out terrorists. Failure to cooperate with these services will be a fatal mistake.

The argument is made that local authorities should not act independently on immigration issues or cooperate with immigration policies in order to foster greater serenity among immigrant populations and encourage immigrants to be more forthcoming about nefarious activity within their community. Local authorities and ordinary citizens are our first line of defense against terrorists.

We often hear that immigrants are mistreated by authorities or live in fear of authorities. Federal agents, in the immigration service or intelligence agencies, are no less compassionate than anyone living on MDI. In fact, agents often exercise great discretion and show extraordinary compassion. The libel and slander directed at federal agents comes from people who wish to divide us. It is unfortunate that so many people on MDI have chosen this unnecessary course of action

Entities that wish to do us harm use the power of hate instead of reason to accomplish their goals. I am dismayed by the intolerance and hate of some on MDI who attack those with whom they disagree and terrify the helpless and minority groups while wrapping themselves in the cloak of self-righteousness.

Col. Fred Benson (Ret.) wrote a commentary in the June 8 Islander, writing in part, “What has become abundantly clear is that we are living in an environment of Trump-driven chaos, uncertainty and dysfunctional partisanship surrounded by a penumbra of distrust that defies imagination and is without precedent.”

Uncertainty, distrust, chaos and dysfunctional partisanship predate Trump. During the onset of the Second Persian Gulf War in 2003, I participated in a panel discussion at the Senior Day for graduating students of MDI High School. I warned students not to succumb to hate for Iraqis because emotion clouds good judgment. I ended by reciting Robert Frost’s poem “Fire and Ice.” However, we must all be aware that there are well-organized and well-funded entities that wish to harm us. We must work together to thwart their plans.

I’ll end this letter as I ended my presentation at the town meeting – look in the mirror if you want to determine who is responsible for the current fear, uncertainty, dysfunctional partisanship and chaos.

David W. Lind

Bar Harbor

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