Opinion: Legislator does not represent me following Facebook post, says Massena man
Thursday, May 16, 2019 - 6:19 am

I have been following with interest the coverage, official reaction, and public response to SLC Legislator Rita Curran’s Facebook post that was deemed offensive and inappropriate to not only those of the Muslim faith, but to many other local constituents.

I was living and working in New York City during 9/11, having had been doing so for 12 years up to that point. I didn’t need the TV cameras. I watched the second plane hit, and the towers collapse live with my own two naked eyes. In addition, six people who lived in the same high-rise apartment building I lived in during that time, several of which I knew personally, lost their lives that horrible, fateful day. It is not a Facebook post or sound byte to me.

“With great power comes great responsibility”.

And I’m not speaking of merely elected office officials. I’m also speaking of any social media account holders or those with an e-mail account.

I have two open requests. One to SLC Legislator Curran, the second, to the students and others who planned to protest Ms. Curran’s offensive post and subsequent response on Monday.

To the organizers, students and other protesters. Keep it respectful. Keep it safe. Keep it law-abiding. Keep it educational. This is your right. But remember that it stops becoming your right once you infringe on the rights of others.

To Ms. Curran. As a village and town of Massena property owner and taxpayer since 2005, the district you represent, let me be clear, you do not represent me.

Pluralism and tolerance. You don’t have to agree, but you should be willing to listen to one another’s genuine concerns respectfully and at maximum agree to disagree. Not cheap political attacks against a freshman congresswoman or her faith by using distortions of her faith to try and scare other fellow citizens and divide us.

I think we’ve all had enough of that lately. I don’t know you personally or your heart and mind, but ma’am, that was just wrong, and perhaps any future SLC Legislative candidates should at minimum sign a pledge to undertake sensitivity training and social media etiquette as a pre-requisite.

Legislator Curran, for the continued belief and faith in our electoral and representative system, as well as for the sense of general decency that decent constituents and Americans all share, I am respectfully requesting your resignation from your position as SLC Legislator.

In closing, I wish to personally commend the local Potsdam Mosque President, Tarik Ait Maatallah, for his Letter to the Editor “Sri Lanka bombers ‘cowards,’ Potsdam mosque president says”, which appeared in the May 1-7 issue of North Country This Week, in which he in no uncertain terms condemned the recent Sri Lanka attacks on Christian worship targets and called them out for the cowards that they were.

If I may be so bold, perhaps an invitation by the SLC Legislature to have President Tarik Ait Maatallah come and speak would not be out of order.

Leland Farnsworth