Monday’s vote by the Downtown Pachyderm Club honestly did not surprise me. It wasn’t an if it would happen, but a when. I’ve been watching the traffic on this channel for some time now and the rhetoric has grown as the election fast approaches.
It has been extremely interesting to me, for up until yesterday, while not a very active one, I was a member of both the downtown and Nightside clubs here in Hamilton County. Regardless of the action taken by the directors of the downtown club, I just can’t remain a member of an organization where 95 percent of its members at a meeting would vote to evict two members of the likes of Curtis Adams and Perry Perkins for supporting a candidate of another political party.
Well, let me clarify, I resigned from the downtown club. A member of the Nightside club, apparently the treasurer, had already taken umbrage with my open support of Kenny Smith and mailed me back my $15 in membership fees. I see now that this is not within policy with national or local bylaws.
Note to that member. I did research the bylaws and could find nowhere that a member could not support or vote for a member of the Democratic, or other, party. Last week I even sent an email to the national office to ask if this was true. To date there has been no answer forthcoming. Nor have I received one from the local national rep.
Henry Hoss, downtown club president, said, “(He) does not believe the board will go along with the dismissals. Every member has a right to support and vote for any candidate they wish; Democratic, Republican or Independent, just as all Americans have the right to support and vote for any candidate.” Whether or not they do, the damage has been done."
This organization’s membership has shown just how intolerant it can be. This is exactly why we have gridlock in Washington and incumbents run around telling folks that the other side has cooties.
I’ve had Republicans and Democrats, elected officials, tell me that party lines actually shouldn’t matter at a local level, that these races shouldn’t be clouded by political parties. I would whole-heartedly agree.
I’ve voted Republican in every race but three since I turned 18 in 1976. My first presidential race to vote in I was a Georgia resident and, in my youth, I got carried away with the notion that it would be cool to have my governor elected president. After all, his signature was on my driver’s license. I later regretted that vote and vowed never to do something like that again. Then I voted for Phil Bredesen for Tennessee governor. A vote I never regretted. Now, in 2014, I have cast a vote for Kenny Smith as my representative on the County Commission. I know that I will never regret this vote, either.
Before I became a Republican, I was an American. To me that means doing my research and voting my conscience as to who the best person is for the office. In this County Commission race that person is Kenny Smith. Not only have I known Kenny my entire life, I have watched and listened to Mr. Boyd as he has held the office. I have watched how he has alienated every other commissioner on the board and how he has failed to represent the values I want in an elected official.
If every other commissioner currently holding office would be honest, they would tell you the same thing. But, they have to get re-elected, too, so they can’t. Why should we, regardless of the party, support a man who doesn’t have the respect of other elected officials?
The current radio spots being run by Tim Boyd, voiced by Ken Meyer, are nothing but more dirty politics. They are much in the line of those being run by Mr. Fleischmann. Are these the politics for which the Grand Old Party wants to be known?
I didn’t serve in the military of our nation for 20 years just so I could give up my right as to whom I could choose to support or vote. That is apparently what the Hamilton County Pachyderm Clubs want me to do. Well, at least Jonathan Mason, president of the Hamilton County Young Republicans, and the rank and file membership. I don’t expect to be missed. Don’t worry, though, I won’t let the screen door hit me on the “you-know-where” on my way out.
If this is the way the young Republicans truly feel, then the GOP is in for some very rough times ahead.
Friends, we should never ever put the belief in a party system ahead of our willingness to choose the right person as our elected official. Men and women have fought and died for that right. Don’t let it be in vain.
I don’t really know Mr. Perkins, but have followed Mr. Adams since we were at the old News-Free Press together back in the mid-70s. I have not always agreed with him, but have always respected him for his courage in speaking his mind. This time we are in agreement in both our beliefs and in speaking out about them.
Even if he did get a vote and I didn’t.
(Dennis Norwood can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter at @DennisENorwood. The views here are purely his own.)
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In reference to Dennis Norwood, I apologize for not taking your application to the board. I have since resigned both the day time and Nightside Pachyderm Clubs as not to be an embarrassment. The problem, in my opinion, is that some care more for an R in front of a name rather than what the person believes and who that person voted for and the party that whoever is running supports. I am a conservative who has been called a true believer by mutual friends of ours.
I am the intolerant person involved, not the Pachyderm Club. What I told you in private conversation has been tradition for the 20 years that I have been a member. I could not support a liberal regardless of how much I liked the person. I put principles over personality regardless of outcome. (One of the reasons I resigned.)
The Club never tells anyone how to vote. During election cycles, members are expected to be show support for Republicans or show no support at all.
By the way, gridlock in Washington is a Democrat problem. The House has sent up more than 100 bills that never have made it out of committee.
When some one joins a Republican club, be a Republican or just me an attendee. Would a Democrat club want members to campaign for Republicans? Since 1994 I have seen the meetings fill up during election cycles then drastically drop after election day. Both parties have shameless opportunists.
Please answer this to yourself: Would you have attended meetings after election day?
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Mr. Norwood: I’m grateful for your service to our country by being a part of our armed forces and to our community with your work at the Chattanooga News-Free Press and the Chattanoogan.com. Thank you.
I wholeheartedly agree that a party system should not be ahead of choosing the right person to serve. We have a privilege to vote and a responsibility to know who we’re voting for. Both are vital to the process we are so blessed to have in the USA.
Without question the action taken on Monday is not representative of the club as a whole. I believe the response of the Downtown Pachyderm Club’s president, Henry Hoss, indicates the same. His highlighting the truth of Americans/members having the right to support and vote for any candidate they wish was spot-on.
Mistakes have been made. However, I feel in your situation and the misguided motion by one and the addition to the motion by another can be an opportunity for growth and for second chances to be given. Otherwise, we are legitimizing the stereotype our party often receives.
I value your involvement in the Hamilton County Pachyderm Clubs as well as our community. Quite frankly, it’s critical to have people like you involved in the organization. We need Curtis and Perry too.
Nightside Pachyderm Club