Roy Exum: The Republican Hate-Mongers

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - by Roy Exum
Roy Exum
Roy Exum

I am not a Democrat, nor am I a Republican. When asked, I will identify myself as an “American.” Both political parties repeatedly disappoint me and, while I admit I just voted in the Republican primary because its candidates are more appealing to me, I was appalled to learn that several Republican county chapters in Tennessee are eager to censure the state’s Republican governor.

You want a quick reason: Gov. Bill Haslam has hired Democrats, gays and a Muslim-American lawyer. Want a shorter answer than that? Hate. Oh, I think you could throw “ignorance” in there, especially since the most scathing resolutions came from the western part of the state and “fear” also fits, this based on the fact these misguided county groups would even dare to uncloak such pitiful insecurity.

In Tuesday’s editions of the Nashville Tennessee, the banner headline read, “Several TN GOPs call for sanctions on Gov. Haslam” and the story, guaranteed to raise the ire of many across the state who have the same views on party politics that I do, is quite possibly the stupidest thing I have ever heard with the state’s primary voting only two weeks away.

According to the Tennessean’s Chas Sisk, “Republicans in Stewart and Carroll counties listed eight grievances. Those include Haslam’s decisions to retain personnel hired by his Democratic predecessor, Governor Phil Bredesen; to allow openly gay individuals to make policy decisions in the Department of Children’s Services; and to hire Samar Ali, a Muslim lawyer from Tennessee, to serve as the Department of Economic and Community Development’s international director.”

My goodness gracious, ain’t it great to be an American! While I am neither gay nor Muslim, I believe there are some of our “grassroots” neighbors who are about two weeks away from wearing their pointed hats, face masks and white sheets to the voting booth. Just like the GOP, the KKK could initiate a membership drive based on the exact same platform. The only difference would be that the Klan would want to burn a cross in the Governor’s front yard.

According to the article written by Chas, our latest Republican hate-mongers claim Gov. Haslam’s policies “are worse than actions of Kent Williams,” the lawmaker from Elizabethton who famously broke ranks from the Republican Caucus in 2009. That’s when a real bunch of winners on the Tennessee Republican Executive Committee threw Williams out of the club, stripping him of his party credentials in an act funnier than a kindergarten play.

The article hints that more GOP extremists in additional Tennessee counties are considering resolutions and have “lost confidence” in the Governor in this, a crucial election year. They say Haslam has not supported gun legislation and “refused to sign a resolution that condemns Agenda 21, a 20-year-old United Nations policy document that some believe is a secret Communist plot.”

David Smith, a spokesman for the Governor, tried to tone down the rhetoric, telling the Tennessean that Gov. Haslam “continues to focus on attracting and growing Tennessee jobs, improving education and making Tennessee the best managed state in the country. “As (Haslam) visits with people in districts across Tennessee to discuss these issues, he appreciates the broad support he’s receiving from Tennesseans,” said Smith, “and a recent poll shows that 79 percent of conservative Republicans approve of the job he’s doing.”

Just the math would lead you to believe the other 21 percent of Republicans in the state are extremists. Chris Devaney, the chairman of the Republican Party in the state, also kept his focus on this year’s election, telling the Tennessean, “All Republicans should stand together on the core Republican principles that unite us. Anything else is just a distraction.”

Whew, I’ll say. For the record, the Muslim-American lawyer at the center of the Republican bonfire is Samar Ali, who serves as the international director of the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development. Ali is said to be extremely well qualified for the trade position and highly-regarded by her Tennessee colleagues.After all, Ali was one of 13 White House Fellows in 2010 and has worked with a prestigious Washington law firm, clerked for Judge Gilbert S. Merritt of the U.S. 6th Circuit Court and for High Court Judge Edwin Cameron in South Africa.

 “It’s a shame that a handful of extremist local politicians don’t respect the freedom of people in America to worship as they choose,” an immigration and refugee rights spokesman told the newspaper.

Now you tell me – isn’t that just about the same thing people used to say about the Klu Klux Klan? No, no …. not the line about being “ … extremists don’t respect the freedom … ” but the three words that once were the bedrock of the despicable KKK – hate, ignorance and fear.

This election year, be very wary of party politics, especially those draped in white sheets over pointed hats that actually read, “Class Dunce."

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