The hateful idiocy spiked again this week in New Jersey, this time in Hoboken, where a flyer with the word “terrorist” spliced in over a picture of mayoral candidate Ravi Bhalla’s face caught the attention of the insider political world and joined local rivals in opposition, condemnation and outrage even as they sharp elbow their way to Tuesday’s finish line.
The piece was a doctored version of one of Bhalla’s own flyers, regurgitated just days after a racist flyer burped up in Edison and sent the political classes chattering in both parties. A Sikh American running for mayor with the endorsement of Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, Bhalla this morning denounced the piece, which no one is claiming ownership of, even as it incorrectly identifies candidate Mike DeFusco as the culprit.
DeFusco slammed the piece in a Facebook post.
“A disgusting, racist flier was found on car windshields tonight that altered one of my campaign’s mailers and added a racial epithet aimed at Ravi Bhalla,” wrote DeFusco, who is one of Bhalla’s competitors in next week’s local mayoral election. “I condemn this piece of racist garbage in the strongest possible terms. Hoboken is far better than this, and whoever made this flier is not only insulting one of my opponents in a despicable way, they are also painting me as a racist, which as the only openly gay elected official in Hudson County and a progressive Democrat …simply could not be further from the truth. I called Councilman Bhalla tonight to assure him that although we disagree on many issues, we can stand united against this kind of racism infecting our city.”
Bhalla offered his own beat-down of the piece.
“Last night a flyer with the word “terrorist” above a picture of me appeared on car windshields in Hoboken,” Bhalla said. “Of course, this is troubling, but I want to be clear: We won’t let hate win in Hoboken. I want people to know that Hoboken is a welcoming community where my wife and I are proud to raise our two young children. No matter your religion, race, ethnicity, or sexual orientation, you are welcome here in our City. And as Mayor, I will work hard to make sure we keep it that way.
“I want to use this incident as an opportunity to affirm to each other and our children the value of living in a diverse community where we are judged by the content of our character– not by the color of our skin or how we worship,” he added. “At this time in our nation’s history when we have a President who seeks to divide us, it is critical that we come together as a community and stand up for American values.”
A third mayoral candidate also condemned the piece.
“Last night a campaign flyer was left on windshields of cars throughout Hoboken,” Council President Jen Giattino said in a statement. “It contained an accusation against one of the mayoral candidates that was racially charged and just wrong. This reprehensible act is completely unacceptable. There is no room for this kind of hateful and cowardly act in our election. We may differ in many of our views in this election, but I know that we all agree that this type of tactic has no place in our society.”