Keeping the Party in the Dark:
An Analysis of a District Republican Convention
James Duvall, M. A.
An Analysis of a District Republican Convention
James Duvall, M. A.
“It seemed crooked to me.”
Jami Duvall, age 13
Jami Duvall, age 13
I am a Republican. I feel that the country is going to wrack and ruin, and I want to do my part, not to hasten that wreck, but to try to avert it. At least if it happens I want to be able to say I didn't just stand there and watch. I have always been a voter; my first vote was cast for Ronald Reagan; but I suppose my political interests first began to mature when I started attending the Teaparty. This is a Grass-roots political organization to encourage participation in politics at the local level, and to help ordinary people inform themselves and others about what is going on in our country and the world.
Knowledge is power. When you know you can't help getting involved. When you realize how few people actually run this country, and how few people really take part, then you realize that just a nudge or two in a certain direction can sometims really make a difference. One vote on the right committee, or in a key precinct, can literally determine the political future of the country or state for quite a long time, often against the wishes of the majority.
It is with this knowledge and in this spirit that I got involved in the local Republican party convention, and I am reporting my views and impressions of the challenges and problems involved. I wish to tell you why I think that though many people you meet agree with the platform and positions of the party they do not agree with its hands-off élitist attitudes, and the political maneuvers designed to maintain the control of certain privileged characters, mostly with money. This a charge that you hear in the press regularly, and which I have now experienced first hand.
First, I object to the fact that we had a cadre of party “leaders” installed upon the platform when the Convention began. We were not introduced to these people and many of us did not even know who they were. The chairman, who for lack of knowing his name, or who he is, or who even installed him, I shall call Mr. Not-a-Hair-Out-of-Place, did not bother to introduce himself or anyone else. Those whom I did know did not inspire my confidence, Mr. Sheriff Korzenborn, of whom I had heard something politically inappropriate, Ms. Tammi Wilson, whom I shall call “yellow legs” because of the ridiculous way she was dressed, and of whom I knew only how bad and intemperately she had acted at our Boone County convention, and there were a few others.
I try to make myself informed of what is going on around me, and of course I notice everything. (I hope I am not getting to be some kind of Hedda Hopper of North Kentucky politics.)
Several of the committee people I had reason to doubt the credentials of, and will state that knowledge here. First, there was Ms. Rachel Jacobs, a paid political operative. I do not think that people who work for our elected official should be placed in these positions. There is too much temptation to work for certain political candidates and officials instead of the good of the people and the party. Second, there was Mr. Scott Kimmich. When I saw him in the registration area I asked someone what he was doing here; the last I knew of him he was the chairman of the Democratic party in Boone County. I have an article in which he is requesting the resignation of our local jailer, Mr. John Schickel, for becoming a Republican. Now, I respect someone who becomes a Republican from conviction, but I do not respect an opportunist. What have we here?
The first and main issue I will take up is the refusal to seat the delegations from two Kentucky counties. This was unconscionable. I must here express and vent my moral outrage. The only comfort I have is the knowledge is that sixty other delegates, almost half of those present, agreed with me. With six or seven more people we could have defeated élitism and ignorance (for a large number of people simply were not aware of what was at stake). If I had had two minutes on the stand to explain the situation both delegations would have been seated by an overwhelming majority. As it was they had a slight majority, and in the United States of America the majority rules, even if they aren't well informed on what they are voting about. That is part of the risk of our system. But that doesn't make wrong right; an action approved by a majority can still be repugnant and morally reprehensible. This one certainly was.
Now it needs to be rectified to the extent that it can. I plan to introduce a motion at the next meeting of the Boone County Republican party to condemn this action, to give our apology to the delegations not seated, and to call on the district and state conventions to issue formal condemnations and apologies for the action. This is only right.
I would also like to have a recall vote on the current district officers, starting with Mr. Not-a-Hair-Out-of-Place, and Yellow Legs, and replace them, instead, with people who are sensitive and open. I am tired of the machine. Knowledge is power, a term coined by our first major American author, Washington Irving. I want the process to become a means by which those who are interested enough to take part can inform themselves of the issues, and with this knowledge make a difference. This should be the real business of the party, which is not simply a means of political control. It appears to me that as the thing operates now it is a means of keeping as many people as possible in the dark.
All committee meetings should be open for observation to party members, certainly to other delegates. This is the way grass-roots information is generated.
As it is the committees become tools for political manipulation. I don't like it, and I think a whole lot of other Republicans agree with me. I guess I will know before long whether or not people agree with me. Perhaps no one will speak, maybe no one really cares, but it is important for someone to tell the truth, even about us Republicans.
How are we kept in the dark? Well, besides not even being introduced to the “leaders” of this party convention, we were given slates of candidates, most of whom we didn't even know. Could not at least everyone nominated have stood before us, so we would know who they were? I think that is a pretty pitiful business.
It is like Russia where they used to pass out the ballots in sealed envelopes and everyone took one and dropped it in the box. Once a man opened his ballot and the secret police jumped on him: “What do you think you are doing?” “I just wanted to see who I was voting for.” “But that is not allowed, Comrade, it's a secret ballot!” And that is just about the was it was at the supposedly free Republican district convention held in Hebron yesterday. It was practically a secret ballot, since the list of names did not correlate with faces, and there were no alternative slates or candidates permitted. Again, I think that's a pitiful business. However, if you are interested in control rather than a free flow of ideas that's the way to handle it.
Also, we voted that the temporary rules become the permanent rules, but who of us had even seen the rules? I am sure there are all kinds of subversive “Exception 319a” — these-rules-only-apply-when-the-big-shots-say-so, type of things. Just imagine the possibilities and you will understand.
Why would the “leaders” of the Republican district convention want to exclude two county delegations? This is a good question, but I am afraid the answer stinks. I am not afraid to tell you that both delegations were legitimate. I talked to the delegation from Harrison County for about twenty minutes. You see my grandmother was born in Harrison County, and I have visited there, and we had plenty to talk about. The delegates were Edith Rowand and Bryan Lutz. I promise you they were exactly who they said they were; they were not Communists or Democrat spies, as Ms. Rachel Jacobs seemed to think.
Then there was the delegation from Lewis County, they weren't spies either, I knew them personally, Judge Thomas Massie and his beautiful wife, as well as the Lewis County chairman, whom I met at the meeting, a fine young man. Someone “lost” their paperwork. I can believe it was lost, but who “lost” it, Ms. Jacobs? You cannot convince me that these people were not legitimate representatives of their respective counties. I knew that, Rachel knew that, a lot of other people knew that. We are talking about a total of five people to be seated as delegates. You would have thought it was a subversive horde trying to take over the entire meeting. So why weren't they seated? Apparently it was a personal pique on the part of Mr. Geoff Davis, Rachel's political master. That's why I think political operatives should not be placed (note I said placed) on these committees. And it was in such contradiction to what he said. My son noticed that.
Jami Duvall, my son, was the youngest person present at the meeting. He is thirteen years old, and a very intelligent child, and so his perspective is important to me. I note that in five years he will be of voting age, and I think a certain amount of political education is necessary to be qualified to vote. When the vote was made not to seat the two delegations my son whispered to me that Mr. Davis had said in America everyone got to take part! He didn't know Mr. Davis was the reason they were not seated. Why this dichotomy of speech and action? I think we see it a lot in our politicians, and we need to take them to task for it.
On the way home I asked my son what he thought of the whole thing, and he said, “It seemed crooked to me.” There it is in a nutshell. I think it would appeared the same way to any fresh-faced youngster. Do you wonder why young people get cynical, and don't get involved in the process? Their innate sense of fairness would condemn this kind of action of not even letting others get on the playing field? That is similar to those Republicans who objected to Ken Moellmann running for office. Some of us think even Libertarians have a right to play the game! Those who don't include others are furthering the élitist fascistic agendas of the likes of Hillary and Obama.
I think any young person, as well as many older people would have considered this action in refusing to seat five legitimate delegates to be little, and élitist. It was a political slight aimed at exclusivism, and that is a major charge made constantly against Republicans. Unfortunately it is a true charge. We are going to change that, now, because it has to be changed if the Republican party is going to take the leadership initiative that it must take if the country is to survive with any semblance of liberty and sane freedom. If it is even to survive financially. This is why I am going to introduce my motion for apology.
I have a lot more that I wanted to say, but I will limit myself to just a single plea that we start doing things because they are right, not because they further a narrow partisan agenda. First, those who voted against this outrage have reason to be pleased. There is still decency and right in this country and in our party. You and I know that “follow the rules” can be used by certain people to install Nazis or Communists. Instead, we must let our hearts go out to our fellow men (without letting our heads turn into mush), more especially when they are men and women of our own party. As it is the rules seem to be the exclusive property of the élite, Mr. Not-a-Hair-Out-of-Place's people. We need to break that stranglehold, and introduce the rules of public discourse, in which heart and head work together to include every voice, and to work together to reach conclusions that are right.
So let us be a voice for good and right. Let's try to do things in such a way they don't appear crooked to the younger generation who will be in the game with us in just a few short years. If we are determined to treat our fellows as we would be treated, that is, to follow the Golden Rule, we will have initiated the most basic platform for regenerating America. Our convention failed yesterday, but the error need not remain. The almost-majority minority expressed their contempt for this treatment of our fellows. I find encouragement in this fact. I believe together we will overrule the spirit of faction and controllishness in the end, and this can be the beginning of something beautiful: love for each other in spite of our differences. It is the only answer. And this will become a permanent legacy to future generations.
James Duvall, M. A.
Big Bone University
Nec ossa solum, sed etiam sanguinem.Big Bone, Kentucky
Note: I recommended a book to several people at the convention. This is Jonah Goldberg, Liberal Fascism: The Secret History of the American Left from Mussolini to the Politics of Meaning (2007). You can read this with great profit, but remember it is not only Democrats who are fascists. Fascism is rule by an élite, and this we had an example of yesterday. Let's don't fall for it again.