“I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.” – Elie Wiesel
People constantly confuse ‘direct democracy’ with ‘representative democracy’. The United States is a Republic – it is governed by the rule of law. Those elected are bound by oath to written, governing, LIMITS yet vote together in a democratic way to address the concerns of ALL those they represent.
In this official video from County Legislator Wieder he is apparently confused about the difference between a ‘Democracy’ and a ‘Republic’.
A Democracy is a form of government in which all eligible citizens have the right to equal participation, either directly or through elected representatives, in the proposal, development, and creation of laws. To put it in very simple terms, it is a form of government where people choose their own government and the voice of the majority rules. However, once the majority is established, the minority has NO say.
The term Republic as used today refers to a representative democracy. This is the form of government which has been established by the people of the United States. In this form of government the voice of the majority rules through chosen representatives. However, there is a charter or constitution of basic rights that protects the minority from being unrepresented OR overridden.
According to the State-appointed monitor, Hank Greenberg, it is the civil rights of the public school children in East Ramapo that are being violated, NOT the voters to which Legislator Wieder refers. In East Ramapo Greenberg has concluded that the Hasidic majority on the school board is giving the minority, whose children attend the public schools, LITTLE or NO say.
While the school board is predominately constituted by members of the Hasidic community, and while the people who voted to put them on to the school board were presumably also members of the Hasidic community, those elected must represent ALL of the East Ramapo children equally. Hank Greenberg says that this school board is NOT following what it is required to do by the United States Constitution which protects ALL minorities from being under-represented OR overridden.
Silence may be golden but one wonders how much longer Legislator Wieder’s colleagues in the County Legislature will remain silent on the issue of ‘civil rights’ in East Ramapo?
Legislators Wolfe and Hood have established Facebook pages which they tout as bringing Rocklanders the ‘truth’ about the issues in our county. Now that they have successfully taken care of the animals in the Hi Tor facility and the horses in Sheriff Falco’s mounted patrol, can we expect them to turn their attention to the plight of the children in the public schools of East Ramapo?
Listen to the voice of Elie Wiesel: “I swore never to be silent whenever and wherever human beings endure suffering and humiliation. We must always take sides. Neutrality helps the oppressor, never the victim. Silence encourages the tormentor, never the tormented.”
Who in the school system of East Ramapo is enduring suffering and humiliation?
Who is the oppressor and who is the victim?
Who is the tormentor and who is the tormented?
Only when the county legislators face those questions will they be able to determine whose civil rights are being threatened and by whom. The people of East Ramapo have cried out for help to Governor Cuomo. His representative has cried out again on their behalf.
It is not necessary for the voters in Ramapo to cry out once more at the behest of Legislator Wieder while 16 other members of the County Legislature remain silent about their plight.
[Wiesel was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1986. The Nobel Committee called him a “messenger to mankind“.]