As a constituent of Congressman Tom MacArthur, I respectfully ask him to denounce the New Jersey State Republican Committee's divisive and dishonest political attack ads on Andy Kim, his challenger in the Nov. 6 midterm elections. I specifically request, at a minimum, to stop targeting YouTube channels for video gamers, as they are largely viewed by children like my 10-year-old, too young to understand he is being misled and pulled in by the racist undertow in those ads. The ads share a common theme, stated repeatedly in an apocalyptic voice: "Andy Kim – NOT one of us."
I do not experience bigotry or hatred in my daily life as a Medford, N.J. resident, so I have been surprised that the advertising strategy stoops to this level with voters. When I first got this flier in my mailbox, I was shocked at how crude it was and how blatantly it referenced Kim's ethnic background. Did you think we would fail to notice the bold Asian font alongside photos of a fish market and not understand the intent? "Something is really fishy about Andy Kim," it says. Really?!?
As I watched Sen. McCain's funeral recently, I felt a deep loss of true American greatness. I also felt the conviction and determination to honor him in his daughter's eulogy. I saw our former presidents, all seated in the congregation, each stand up and tell us that as Americans we must stand up for each other, put our better selves forward to form a more perfect union. Most importantly, we must somehow remember that we are all on the same team. If there is still a Team America still shining bright on a hill, as all great teams know, there is only greatness in unity.
To be honest, I am a little embarrassed to admit that until I got that flier in the mail, I did not even know who or which party represented my district. I vote in presidential elections, but I am not politically active. My personal life overwhelms my day-to-day, as it does most working moms and Americans in general. There is a good chance I might have sat out this election, like I have every other midterm. But I will be voting on Nov. 6. Congratulations, Congressman MacArthur. Your campaign ads secured two more votes — mine and my husband's — for your opponent, Andy Kim.
I encourage my fellow New Jersey voters to do something I had never done before until recently. Go out and meet Andy Kim, the candidate running to represent you at one of his meet-ups. There was free beer at the one I attended. Hear his story, shake his hand. You'll see that he is the kind of guy who just refuses to engage in anger and personal attacks. We should all aspire to do the same.
In response to the campaign against Andy Kim, just like McCain said to that woman who called Obama an Arab terrorist, I say to Tom MacArthur, "No, no sir [ma'am], he's a decent family man…I want everyone to be respectful, and let's make sure we are."
Julie Olmstead is a Medford, N.J. resident and concerned citizen.