An open letter to Pres. Biden.
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  2. Letter

An Open Letter

To: Pres. Biden

From: A verified voter in Flagstaff, AZ

May 3

From The Atlantic Biden’s instinct on May 7 will be to speak sympathetically about Jewish fears while stressing his respect for the right to protest. His instinct will be to express compassion for all civilians at risk from the violence in the Middle East, both Palestinians and Israelis. If he does that and stops there, he will be delivering the right answer to the wrong question—the one for a Republican, about caring enough. The speech he needs to give is not a speech from the heart. It’s a speech about his guts. The message wanted is more than “I care.” The message wanted is “I dare.” So after saying the things that are instinctive for him to say, he must keep going. He needs to say that no cause justifies violence on the streets and quads of America. He needs to affirm that universities cannot accept intimidation and unlawful disruption of educational activities. He needs to make clear that he supports those leaders who have protected their universities’ academic function, including their decision to call in the police where required. He should share his firm conviction that protest is not peaceful if it forcibly interferes with the rights of others. He needs to do all of these things—not as a special favor to Jews on campus or off, but as a basic rule of good government. As president and as a presidential candidate, Trump has played favorites among lawbreakers. With one kind of culprit, he urged the police to crack their heads on the doors of their squad cars. Another kind of culprit he hailed as “hostages” and promised to pardon. If Biden is to campaign against Trump by calling him an inciter of riots, he himself needs to be an unwavering voice against riots, whatever the ideology of the rioter.

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