Alan Dershowitz — won’t you be my neighbor?


To the Editor:

With all due respect to counselors Dershowitz and Teller, it’s starting to sound like a middle school hissy-fit.  “I’m not inviting Alan cause he likes Donald.”

I sincerely do not agree with Alan on a lot of issues. And I totally support his right to be obnoxious, disagreeable and hard-headed within the public discourse as I’ve always respected and appreciated his lifelong commitment to justice and constitutional rights. He has been a brilliant legal scholar and articulates a very important voice in the conversation; even when he’s on the wrong side of the argument.

Yes, let’s break out the chairs at the Chilmark Community Center. I wouldn’t call it a debate though. Debates require winners and losers.  Let’s call it a public discourse — a community discourse with a moderator to keep the conversation on track. There should be no loser in such a discourse.

Let me offer though, that there is an elephant at that discourse. The elephant being the very real (and not really that slow) shift in our government toward totalitarianism. A case in point, a child, still breastfeeding, taken from his mother’s arms by government officials. My late father, a Holocaust survivor and resistance hero, choked up every time he recounted witnessing children being taken from their parents before boarding the train to the camps. “For their protection” was the early Nazi refrain. Weirdly, a similar refrain has come from the government administrators as 2,300 kidnapped children have been herded into cages and “detention” centers.

Alan, let’s host this event but have the real agenda be “How can we, aside from the ballot box and our checkbooks rise up and intervene?” Such a discourse should be held in every town, every community, every resort island everywhere across this great country.

I don’t do cocktail parties, but I’ll gladly sit down and have a glass of wine with you anywhere.

Most Sincerely,

Sig Van Raan
West Tisbury