Open Letter to Rep. Bell: Don't Visit Boston

Arkansas Republican Rep. Nate Bell on Friday morning posted on Twitter: “I wonder how many Boston liberals spent the night cowering in their homes wishing they had an AR-15 with a hi-capacity magazine?”

Dear Mr. Bell,

I am writing in response to your “ill-timed” tweet regarding “Boston liberals.” Like many other millions around Boston, Arkansas, the country and the world, I was sickened by your comment and its lack of decency, intelligence, relevance and basic human sensitivity. However, I feel that I may have been affected more than most by your statement. Your appalling remark literally hit home for me — twice. My name is Timothy Grace. I’m a Bostonian, born-and-raised, who has lived in Fayetteville for four years.

As a Bostonian, let me be one of the first to say that your apology was insufficient and insincere. However, given that it was every bit as intelligible and well thought out as your initial quip, I’d be willing to concede that both are examples of your finest work.

As a resident of Arkansas, I’d also like to be the first to say that your apology is not necessary. Despite the fact that you’ve embarrassed the state and its citizens on a national level, and even though you failed your constituents and the people of Arkansas, an apology is not required. You need only do what the law requires of you to successfully carry out your own resignation. No press statements, please. No tweets. No updates.

For the love of God, no news appearances. Just pack up your office and leave quietly. Not for your dumb, rude joke. But for your failure to represent anything good about Arkansas. For your utter failure to do your job, Representative.

The level of warmth and compassion that exists within Arkansas is both staggering and inspiring. People from Arkansas go above and beyond to make sure you know that you are welcome to be there, wherever “there” may be. In Arkansas, the expectation of decency is high. Hospitality is an art form. Love and empathy for people in crisis is an instinctive reaction. And reverence for the deaths of innocent people is positively paramount, sir. Everyone I have ever met in Arkansas would have used the opportunity to extend a loving hand. You, Mr. Bell, could not have failed more. You are arrogant. You are crude. You are an an opportunist and a sensationalist with very little actual substance to your work. You speak neither to nor for the finer parts of this state or its people.

You haven’t served the citizens enough as a competent legislator to counteract your terrible blunder, either.

You have an unsuccessful, as of yet, campaign to make students who don’t finish college pay back their lottery scholarships. Is this the sweeping education reform you promised in your campaign? Or, perhaps, voting to make Bible study part of the public education curriculum was that reform. That law, however, somewhat contradicts your oath to defend the constitution (the constitution has many amendments besides the second — you should read them).

You voted to cut the taxes of people who sell land and the excise taxes of major energy and utility companies. I noticed that Arkansas’ largest landowners (Tyson Foods, Jim Walton, Walmart, etc.) were key contributors to your campaign. You also received money from almost every energy concern and utility in the state (The Stephens Group, Cox, AT&T, AEP and ExxonMobil). By slashing their taxes, you could potentially save them $27m in a fiscal year. Your vote only cost them a few thousand bucks. So, at least, you’re using the power vested in you by the people to serve some. However, I believe that the service you’ve provided is not enough grounds for the people of Arkansas to stand behind you or to help you weather the storm of ignorance that you’ve created around yourself, your colleagues and your state. You are a disgrace to the state and the legislature; and you don’t deserve to be there anymore.

You have one more chance, in this situation, to walk out of it with the slightest shred of class and humility — by resigning. Please take advantage of it. It will be your greatest service to The State of Arkansas since your election.

Lastly, I’d like to remind you of even more consequences you face in the mess you made. Basically, I hope you already had a chance to check out Paul Revere’s house and catch a game at Fenway. I think I speak on behalf of all Bostonians when I say, “Stay as far away from our city as possible. You are not welcome! Not today, not tomorrow, nor any other day that begins with a sunrise and ends with night.” You’ve cast yourself as an exile in your own country. You will go down in Boston history as the weak-minded coward who kicked us when we were down, who used our heartache and our tragedy as an opportunity to selfishly further his own political agenda and then only apologized for the “timing” of his actions.

Your name will be remembered. Your face will be remembered. Your remark will certainly be remembered and you can never walk the streets of Boston again. Not without making yourself vulnerable to a barrage of comments just as hurtful and senseless as the one you unapologetically made. The people of Boston never let anyone who has wronged them get away with it. The guilty pay for their actions until Bostonians deem themselves satisfied. For references on this matter you can contact Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, Bill Buckner, and King George III.

Not for the sake of you (because I and most other people now couldn’t care less); but for the sake of those who love and depend on you, I hope you have better guidance in choosing your next career.


Timothy Grace

Categories: Commentary