By Amanda Lee Weinstein
This letter is in response to Paul Baranek’s June 24 letter to the editor, titled “Who cares about Weinstein?’
We all find our footing in a world replete with a brilliant array of faiths, looking for guidance along the way, given (usually) by our parents. I was raised with the idea instilled in me that only a person with unstable and unsound beliefs tries to silence those with beliefs different from his or her own. Ironically, it is Paul R. Baranek who instilled this belief in me, the same man now wishing to silence Mikey Weinstein.
Technically speaking, Paul Baranek is my father, but it is more accurate to describe Mikey Weinstein as my father. It is not by blood but by heart and choice that makes Mikey my father. He is the one who believes in me, the one who protects me.
He is the one who defends me. He is the one who stands and speaks for me when no one will listen. He is the one who knows me. And he, Mikey Weinstein, is the one that I call father, that I call Dad. Paul Baranek is none of these things to me. He does not know or speak for me and has even less claim to know my father, Mikey.
But Mikey is much more than just my father. Every military member seeking help from Military Religious Freedom Foundation, whether they are Jewish, Muslim, Hindu, Atheist, or Christian is treated the same way he treats his own children.
Mikey is the only person willing to protect our military members and stand up for them when no one else will listen, ensuring they have the same constitutional right of religious freedom guaranteed by our country’s forefathers, the same rights that he himself fought to protect during his service in the Air Force. He has been there to answer countless calls for help in the middle of the night and has even taken those he helps into his home.
So, silencing Mikey, as Paul wants, would also silence these thousands of military members he serves. It is nice to have a ‘support our troops’ sticker on your car, but my father has this motto etched onto his heart, and it shows in his actions every single day. He is the epitome of supporting our troops, and the epitome of a father supporting his children. He does so under the constant threat of personal and financial harm, and endures lambasting from lesser men than himself.
We know Paul Baranek and his ilk don’t care about Mikey Weinstein (or any Weinstein for that matter), but every American who supports our troops should damn well care about my dad Mikey, and his cause.