Michael O'Neill Letter on Tim Bishop and Farmingville

In response to 1st C.D. Congressman Tim Bishop's appearance in Farmingville at a meeting of the former 'Sachem Quality of Life" organization, renamed the Greater Farmingville Community Association, Michael O'Neill of Sag Harbor, a member of O.L.A. and numerous other organizations devoted to peace and justice sent the following (excerpted) letter to the congressman:

Jan 8,2005
Hon.Tim Bishop,

I just read an account of the meeting you had last night with the ersatz Sachem Quality of Life group, whatever their new new name, headed by the August President for Life, Ray Wysolmierski. I want to thank you for standing up to these bullies and telling them to their faces of your support for the undocumented immigrants; that you support making them legal by issuing work visas which could lead to citizenship. I want to thank you for the principled stand you took in face of what, I am told by an eyewitness there, was their nastiness--to use the term he used.

You could have easily have skipped their request for a meeting that you must have known would be hostile and I want to thank you for deciding to meet with them as their representative, which could well dampen the fervor of the anti-immigrant stance of the most strident among them and even move the less strident to see there are reasonable and principled solutions that would be much more beneficial to these hard-working, law-abiding immigrants as well as to our communities than those put forward by right-wing groups. They are, in the words of Morris Dees, one of our nation's treasures and founder of the Southern Poverty Law Services, "Hate must be exposed and denounced. It is our basic civic duty to respond to hatred when it appears in our community and promote tolerance in its place." On his web site he gives the links between these anti-immigrant goups and the same, old, dreary hate groups that have sprung up after years of laying the groundwork.

Many with less fortitude would simply have given up ever trying to connect with these folks to try to reason with them when they have shown themselves sbusive and mean to you in the past in other public venues. I hope there were reporters there to spread what to me was good news: the vocal opposition is really only the same three louts who scream about "invaders" and believe "illegal" is a genetic trait given by God and will always remain so."