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Guest Viewpoints

The Community Makes a Difference in Washington

October 17, 2020
By Andy Manatos and Mike Manatos

Dear fellow Greek-Americans who make political contributions: THANK YOU. You are a major reason the former head of President Trump’s White House National Security Council was described in an October 11 Ekathimerini article as believing “Greece’s exceptional relations with Congress leaders play a key role in securing Greek interests and influence.”    

Very few in our community know and understand as you do:  

  1. The vast majority of policy benefitting America’s interests with the Ecumenical Patriarchate, Greece and Cyprus over the years have been produced by the Congress; and  
  1. In light of the thousands of weekly written communications that compete for the attention of U.S. Senators and Members of the House of Representatives, and the Greek-American community amounting to just 4/10ths of 1% of their electorate, political contributions are necessary. 

Thank you for understanding that political contributions are in fact respectable. There is nothing wrong with helping to elect or keep in office those important to our issues. Your contributions alleviate the stress of Senators and Members’ least pleasant job – raising money – and they in turn see us as friends and allow us time to present our credible and just causes.  

For the first time, Greek-American/Orthodox women, as a group, held a political fundraiser. It was for the only Greek American/Orthodox woman in the U.S. House of Representatives Dina Titus. From her key position on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, she had just weeks before moved the Congress to condemn Turkey’s conversion of Aghia Sophia to a mosque. Led by Lt. Governor of California Eleni Kounalakis and other female leaders in our community, this group raised just under $15,000.     

By sacrificing your personal funds to lift the Senators and Members’ fundraising burden you develop a bond with them. Such bonds and the information they learn at fundraisers contributed significantly to the recent passage through the Senate and House of the important Eastern Mediterranean Security and Energy Partnership Act.   

Without your political contributions over the years, Cyprus, Greece, and the Ecumenical Patriarchate would be different places. One of many examples involves our law that revealed Turkey’s ten-year hiding of their execution of five Americans and 1,000 Cypriot men, women and children during its invasion of Cyprus. That Congressional strength helped move our government to end Turkey’s plan to take the rest of Cyprus. We did that by helping make it an EU nation – stopping France and Germany’s objections to its early EU accession.   

The extraordinarily dangerous actions of Turkish President Erdogan threaten matters dear to our hearts and important to America’s security interests.  We must stay vigilant.   

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