I don’t know what religion you practice or the color of your skin, but if you’re reading this, please substitute your race or creed for the relevant words in Gov. LePage’s recent comment: “You shoot at the enemy. … the enemy right now …. are people of color or people of Hispanic origin.”

For example, I am Jewish, and I wonder what I would do and how I would be affected if the governor had said, “You shoot at the enemy. … the enemy right now …. are Jews.”

I would be horrified, and frightened that these condemning comments from the person in Maine’s highest office would cause others to treat me in ways that disrespect and endanger me. As awful as it is to believe, Mr. LePage’s comments really call on people to kill black and Hispanic people.

Gov. LePage’s sweeping condemnation of every black and every Hispanic person, and his suggestion that they be shot, violate the 14th Amendment’s prohibition against denying any person the equal protection of the laws, for he is suggesting that black and Hispanic people receive no protection from the law. If Gov. LePage does not resign, then the Legislature has a duty to impeach him for this constitutional violation.

Although we group others and ourselves because of external commonalities, we all have more in common than we have differences. We are all individuals, and we are all human.

In grouping people by race, color or religion, we devalue individuals and ignore our shared humanity. The governor’s grouping and categorization of black and Hispanic people as “the enemy” needs to be loudly and unanimously condemned. Silence can be taken as approval, and that is eminently dangerous. Furthermore, black and Hispanic people are everyone’s brothers and sisters. There is no “them” or “us” – there is only “we.”

Naomi Cohen

Hope