Yesterday, ThinkProgress first reported comments by Rep. Allen West (R-FL), a freshman member of Congress and Tea Party favorite, claiming that Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) “really does represent the antithesis of the principles upon which this country was established.” In a statement issued to ThinkProgress, Ellison expressed surprise at the comments, but called for public servants to “reject the toxic and corrosive chatter that yields more heat than light” and to have a “productive and respectful dialogue”:
I was surprised to hear of Congressman West’s comments because he has never expressed these sentiments to me directly.
Contrary to the views expressed by Congressman West, I work to represent the highest ideals of our great nation – ideals like freedom of worship and respect for all faiths, equal protection under the law as well as a civil and open public discourse.
I call on Americans of all colors, cultures and faiths to turn to each other, not on each other, especially in the renewed spirit of finding a more respectful and productive public dialogue.
Americans across the country want their public servants to reject the toxic and corrosive chatter that yields more heat than light. I hope to have a productive and respectful dialogue with all of my colleagues, including Allen West.