Moral Clarity - 27 East


Southampton Press / Opinion / Letters / 2254775

Moral Clarity

The Democratic primary in Congressional District 1 presents a choice between John Avlon, a well-known political journalist, and Nancy Goroff, a former State University of New York chemistry professor.

Avlon has been quick to identify the most important issues. He highlights women’s reproductive rights and the affordability of life on Long Island as critical, but he repeatedly cites the need to protect democratic values and institutions as motivating his run for office.

In contrast, his opponent began her race with an email about climate change that sounded like it was left over from her unsuccessful 2020 campaign. Though the topic hasn’t faded in importance, in the context of today’s politics, the email begged the question of whether any items on the Democratic policy agenda can endure if democracy fails.

Important distinctions between the candidates were apparent at a March forum in East Hampton. Avlon spoke knowledgeably and succinctly, while his opponent struggled to make her points.

In response to a question about a cease fire in Gaza, Avlon said, “Sure! When they return the hostages.” Goroff, on the other hand, made some rambling remarks that left the audience grumbling.

Toward the end of the forum, Goroff confronted Avlon, claiming that his factual statement of her loss to Lee Zeldin in 2020 constituted an inappropriate personal attack. In attempting to explain herself, her delivery became tentative, her voice tremulous, and she never totally recovered her composure.

Putting the merits of her argument aside, her inability to confidently stand by her position is concerning. In this time of dangerous misinformation, when our freedoms and even the foundations of democracy are at risk, we should not elect someone who struggles to articulate her thoughts and defend her opinions.

It should not have been surprising that Goroff seemed reluctant to get into specifics on Gaza. In an October 19 East Hampton Star column, when the Israeli invasion had not even begun, she wrote in detail about the sufferings of Palestinians, but, as has unfortunately been the case with too many progressives, she could not bring herself to utter the words “hostages” or “sexual assault.” Posting pictures on her Facebook page of Passover foods is laughably inadequate.

Her failure to take a stronger position on the events of October 7 feeds into the ridiculous narrative accepted by too many Jewish voters — that only Republicans are good for Israel.

District 1 needs an informed gladiator who speaks with moral clarity and favors a moderate, bipartisan approach to solving problems. The candidate must be able to generate enthusiasm for Democratic priorities but also attract independent voters and disaffected Republicans.

Please join me in voting for John Avlon in the Democratic primary on June 25.

Doretta Katzter Goldberg