Criticism of Rep. Miller for Hitler reference unfair

U.S. Rep. Mary Miller has apologized for citing Hitler in a speech last week to the Moms for America. Good idea. Mentioning Hitler in public discourse is a no-win move. Even if he was right (which he was, very unremarkably, in this case.)

What concerns me is the fuss demonstrated by others at her comment. This is an unusual subject for an editorial of the EDN, which does not often take an editorial position, and even less often about anything controversial. (“Our View: U.S. Rep. Mary Miller must apologize,” Jan. 8. 2021.) Reports of her comment quote Gov. Pritzker, Sen. Duckworth, Rep. Kinzinger (R-IL), the head of the World Jewish Congress, among others, expressing outrage. What’s the real big deal?

In my opinion, it is an effort to smear the new kid on the block; to create a negative impression of a woman who has just begun her first term in a very tightly-divided Congress. Mary Miller is a wife and mother, farmer, teacher, good citizen, patriot, certainly a friend to many; but little-known outside of her Coles County community (I have met and talked with her, but only briefly). Seize the opportunity to make her look bad! “Hitler was right” – what a gift! Use it, push it, pound on it! (Her quote? “Hitler was right about one thing. Whoever has the youth has the future.”)

Even worse, this kind of behavior is becoming common practice among media of all types: misrepresenting events, filling news stories with opinion and conclusion words, very selective and prejudicial use of facts, completely omitting entire stories that reflect badly on favored persons, making big stories about trivial issues that reflect badly on unfavored persons. When I glance at AP stories about President Trump in the EDN, I am appalled by the profligate use of words that disparage him right in the text. This is not professional or responsible journalism. But now it’s commonplace, even among the best-known media in the country, newspapers and networks that have given up devotion to objectivity, but without admitting it. In the meantime, social media (as distinct from news media) are shutting off, cancelling many people with the “wrong” opinions, based on arbitrary interpretations of the sites’ rules of service.

(I want to emphasize that I think a local newspaper is a valuable asset to a community. I am a subscriber to EDN because I appreciate its coverage of local institutions and events. This is important stuff! I have suggested to Editor Jeff Long that the paper should concentrate even more on what’s happening here, and in the area and even the state, and give minimal space to wire-service reports of stories covered all over the Internet.)

Free speech and accurate reporting are at risk in this country like never before, and the biggest threats are those who have the platforms and the tools to portray reality any way they want. Rep. Mary Miller has gotten nasty treatment in this matter. It’s an example of a dangerous trend. The Moms for America stated, “We know the real issue has nothing to do with Hitler, but the fact that [Miller] is a woman of courage who speaks truth in a time of universal deceit.”

Rick Siemer, Teutopolis

Think long and hard about Miller’s remarks

In response to the Jan. 8 article, “Miller apologizes for Hitler reference”:

Since newly-elected Congresswomen Mary Miller wants to begin the discussion with the virtues of Hitler, let’s start there.

I will begin with a quote from a study of the lives of a group of ordinary Germans under the Third Reich in “They Thought They Were Free: The Germans, 1933-45” by Milton Mayer:

“Your friend the baker was right ... the whole process ... was above all diverting. It provided an excuse not to think for people who did not want to think anyway ... Most of us did not want to think about fundamental things and never had. There was no need to. Nazism gave us some dreadful, fundamental things to think about — we were decent people — and kept us so busy with continuous changes and ‘crises’ and so fascinated, yes, fascinated, by the machinations of the ‘national enemies,’ without and within, that we had no time to think about these dreadful things that were growing, little by little, all around us. Unconsciously, I suppose, we were grateful. Who wants to think?”

While history does not repeat itself, it often rhymes.

It is time to think long and hard about Congresswoman Miller’s remarks and our role in all of this as voters. Are we the baker, who, in 1933 could not muster the courage to speak out about things we recognize as wrong?

If we do not have the courage to speak up now, how far does it have to go?

Ryan Weber, Teutopolis

Miller should resign now

Never forget. This is the phrase shouted to the world about the Holocaust for us to never let perversities of Adolf Hitler or his like ever occur again. A related to question to you, the reader, is “what will you remember in two years?”

Our congresswoman, Mary Miller, just said “This is the battle. Hitler was right on one thing. He said, Whoever has the youth has the future.” Sadly, only two ways exist for constituents to interpret this: Either Miller believes we will forget she said this as she lobbies white supremacists for future votes or she is so ignorant about this history that she didn’t realize how much this would upset her voters. Either of these are simply unacceptable for a U.S. congressperson.

Although the congresswoman has now issued an apology, let’s be clear on the first reaction from her: A tweet from her office saying her statements were “a denunciation of evil dictators’ efforts to re-educate young people and similar efforts by left-wing radicals in our country today.”

Read her quote above — that is not a denunciation! She is praising one of the most evil people in the history of the planet. Do not buy the Politician speak excuse coming from her office!

Personally, I think Congresswoman Miller should resign now as she does not represent the values of most of us in Central Illinois — but I doubt that will happen. So I ask you, will you remember this at the voting booth in two years?

Craig Lundstrom, Mahomet

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