It would seem that both our president and governor never heard of the old American maxim: “I may disagree with what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.”

President Joe Biden declared the other day that there are not many “real” Republicans anymore and that he doesn’t “respect these MAGA [Make America Great Again] Republicans.”

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“What we’re seeing is either the beginning or the death knell of an extreme MAGA philosophy,” he said. “It’s not just Trump, it’s the entire philosophy that underpins the – I’m going to say something: it’s like semi-fascism.”

In reality, though, these Republicans are only offering alternative policies to address such issues as immigration, government spending, taxes, the environment, the uses of federal power, the separation of powers between the federal government and state governments, the protection of freedom of religion from LGBT demands, the protection of voting rights, the Iran nuclear deal, and other issues as well. To suggest that these views do not deserve to even be heard is hyperbole of the worst sort.

Sadly, Governor Hochul does not come off any better. As reported by Fox News, at a campaign rally last week she said that Republicans in the Empire State who do not share her values are not New Yorkers “because you don’t represent our values.”

We come from a long line of people who fought for women’s rights that happened here first. We fought for environmental justice that happened here first. We fought for environmental justice that happened here first. We fought for labor rights that happened here first. We fought for LGBTQ rights that happened here first.

The Governor even went so far as to urge Rep. Lee Zeldin (District 1), her Republican opponent in the November elections, to “just jump on a bus and head down to Florida where you belong. OK? Get out of town.”

Congressman Zeldin and other New York Republicans are offering different solutions to the same problems, but the Governor opposes giving them the opportunity to make their case.

In both Washington and Albany, our top leaders seem to believe they have a monopoly on what is in the public interest to such an extent that the public need not hear other perspectives. But government by demonization doesn’t work, and the manifest disunity that has overtaken our country is surely Exhibit A.

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