In this joyous holiday season with the New Year’s festivities only days away, it would seem to behoove us to reflect on the greatness of our nation and what made it become a beacon of freedom throughout the world. In other words, although We may disagree with each other on various policies and ideologies, we all recognize that what makes Us the United States of America is an abiding respect for our differences. Unfortunately this last campaignseason saw a candidate nominated for a congressional seat in Westchester County whose writings and stated views contradict just about everything that brings us together. After the Republican party’s first choice unexpectedly dropped out, Jim Russell offered to run against incumbent Congresswoman Nita Lowey. Having run and lost to her before, maybe it seemed like a good idea but it became immediately apparent that the choice was worse than a poor one.
Russell was instantaneously rejected by his own party, both at the county and state levels, when Maggie Haberman, among others revealed in the September 10, 2010 issue of Politico, a highly respected political journal, that Russell had written an article for “ a right wing publication” entitled “The Western Contribution to World History.” In that article, which appeared in the Occidental Quarterly Journal, Russell expounded on what was purported to be a scholarly thesis. Some of the excerpts included quotes from T.S. Elliot when Elliot advocated a “homogenous population and unity of religious background” stating that “reasons of race and culture combine to make any large number of free-thinking Jews ‘Undesirable,’” Russell opined that contrary to the yammering about bringing us all together, the biological function of human language and culture is just the opposite. For example, “to keep discreet groups apart” Russell also wrote “there is now afoot a conscious effort to de-Europeanize and to re-Judaize Christianity through scriptural revision, internal treachery and external pressure,” etc Ms Haberman pointed out as well that Russell praised Eugenics, a social movement that believes in racial separation.
Is it a coincidence when he was extolling the virtues of western medicine he chose to name only Pasteur, Fleming, and Curie… leaving out Salk, Sabine, and Einstein? Is it a coincidence that while praising advances in communication he cited Morse, Marconi, Edison, and Bell but admonished and accused Mayer, Thalberg, Warner, and Cohen? He accused the latter, all of them Jewish, of “hijacking” these inventions for their own “financial gain, or worse to “manipulate our opinions and behavior accusing David Sarnoff in the process of “sending a spy to steal from Farnsworth the patent for television.
We don’t believe in coincidences and neither should anyone else.
Clearly , Westchester County has not in recent memory been subjected to a candidate for public office espousing Russell’s view of the world which David Duke liked so much that he posted it on his own web site. And so, once defrocked, Russell’s candidacy was a non starter .The news media including RNN, News 12, Politico, Salon, and Raw Story all ran with the story, pointing out that Russell also writes highly of the book, "The Camp of the Saints," a tome held dear by many white supremacists. It all led Salon to hands down declare that the candidate is now "exposed as racist."
Now remember, Jim Russell wrote the essay himself , no one put words in his mouth, and as such he should have expected that those who discovered it could make whatever judgments they deemed appropriate. In the interviews following the discovery of his past writings, he avoided answering inquiries of him directly. Questions such as whether or not he still believed what he wrote. It would have certainly been easy for him to disavow those positions but clearly he did not. Consequently the entire New York State Republican establishment from the State Committee to the Westchester Republican Chair were appalled and immediately withdrew their support in favor of a write in candidate. Russell apparently was offended by this along with being grilled by various commentators on the tone, content, and subtext of his essay. In otherwords Jim Russell wanted it both ways. He wanted to be free to state his views butwanted a pass on what those views meant, when he wrote them, and whether he stillsubscribed to them. Jim Russell who professes to be a conservative is now suing 16 defendants in Tort, most of whom are newsmen and women as well as others who comment on politics like The Westchester Guardian and Yonkers Tribune. Russell’s attorney, who self describes himself as the “Confederate Lawyer,” alleges, among other things, that Russell’s reputation in the community was damaged as a “ professional scholar” which brings us to the point of this article.
Dividing humanity by race, color, ethnicity, and religion fits into some people’s notion of how the world should be. Adolf Hitler believed that only white Aryan’s were pure enough to rule the world notwithstanding the fact that he was anything but. The Ku Klux Klan believed that only southern white Protestants should rule the day eliminating blacks, Catholics and Jews. And lest we not forget the Turner Diaries and present day white supremacists who have similar beliefs based on their notion of racial and religious purity.
We like argue a lot about different subjects in Westchester County. We argue about what to spend money on, whether to build affordable housing, whether our property taxes are too high, whether we like or dislike the Congress, or the State Legislature, and we argue our points forcefully, from both the left,the right and the center. But what we have never argued for is that one group, one religion, or one race is inferior to and should be separated from the rest of us. That is not America. And what we have never believed, no matter what other political differences we may hold, is that discrimination of any kind is tolerable. We are a nation, a state, and a county of diversity. Diversity is what has made us strong and has kept us strong. Different people, from different backrounds, from different parts of the world, have come to this country with their talents for building, healing, and working hard. The notion that only white Europeans are the anointed Americans, or are the pure Americans, or are the ones who personify the greatest nation in the history of mankind, are the sort of notions that the young men and woman of this nation spent fighting against during that dark period we remember as World War II.
People like Jim Russell are anathema to the very bedrock of this nation . Those who fail to understand that that our strength is in our diversity do a great disservice to all those who have come before them when they write, as Russell has written, words whose clear import we have heard and rejected before. Jim Russell and his Confederate attorney can sue all they want but any candidate for public office is fully accountable for the words they write or speak. The words are his: those he chose to quote were selected by him; those he chose to praise were chosen by him, and by him alone. And those he chose to denigrate, were also of his choosing Taken together, they give us a roadmap to his true beliefs, an insight to his true character and a preview to what kind of congressman he would have made had he been elected. It is those beliefs, that character, and the prospect of electing that kind of representative from Westchester County that are, and always will be unacceptable.
It is for those of us who are involved in the public discourse to make clear and to stand firm against the kind of nonsense that Jim Russell has held out as “scholarly research.” If it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…well you know the rest.
Michael R. Edelman, Esq., is a nationally respected political commentator heard weekly on Cable News 12 Westchester, Sam Zherka is the publisher of The Westchester Guardian, and Hezi Aris is the publisher of the Yonkers Tribune and editor of The Westchester Guardian.