What’s worse? Racism or using racism as a political weapon?

As anybody who knows me is well aware, I am one of the leading advocates for a big tent Republican party that embraces people from all walks of life.  As a member of the Fairfax County Republican Committee African-American outreach committee, I’ve worked with my colleague and fellow Common Sense contributor Terrence Boulden to reach out to the black community and help spread a Republican message in Fairfax.

I was appalled yesterday when I saw the email from Virginia Beach Republican Chairman David Bartholomew and was pleased when he stepped down last night.  That email was first made public in a post by Lowell Feld on Blue Virginia.  While  I am saddened to see that kind of behavior from anyone in the Republican party, I was very happy to see how fast things went, with Scott Rigell, our Congressional Candidate in VA-2, condemning it immediately and Bartholomew taking responsibility and stepping down without a fight.

That kind of racism has no place in the Republican party, and I’ve been vocal about it, and so has Terrence.

But I did have a few questions about the email – namely, why did it take seven months for Lowell to do a post on it?  The email was originally sent in March.

So today, when Lowell has yet another racist email forward – this time with a video – forwarded from another Rigell supporter, my anger at the sender has turned into suspicion.  Where are these emails coming from?  Why are they being released and posted about now?

Like yesterday’s email, this one is also months old – sent in July.  This email forward, sent from Karen Beauchamp, also a former Virginia Beach Republican Committee Chair and an “endorser” of Rigell’s campaign, contains a video that’s a pretty nasty attack on the President, and one that I think is uncalled for and completely inappropriate.

That being said, I’m angry at how this is all unfolding.  Either Lowell has sat on these emails for months or he is willingly serving as a patsy for someone trying to launch an October surprise on Scott Rigell.  There is no good reason for anyone to sit on these emails for months – racism is racism and it should be stamped out as soon as it happens, not months later when it can be political advantageous to one side over the other.

This is the problem that I have with using racism as a weapon in politics – racism is an evil that transcends party and it shouldn’t be something that we only care about during election season.  Racism is wrong regardless of when or where it happens.  If it’s wrong to send out a racist joke or a racist video, and I believe strongly that it is, I think it’s just as wrong to sit on that knowledge for months before calling out the sender.

It seems fairly clear to me that Lowell doesn’t care about stamping out racism, or calling out those who engage in it.  He’s simply trying to shill for Glenn Nye and pop out a bunch of leaked racist emails in a guilt-by-association drive-by on Scott Rigell.  He doesn’t care about the racism, only about how this looks to undecided voters in the 2nd District.  And that, in my opinion, makes him little better than the folks who sent these emails out in the first place.

Racism is wrong.  But so is using racism as a weapon and sitting on stories until they’re politically advantageous.  By not releasing these emails when he got them, assuming he got them when they were first sent, Lowell basically condoned the racism – it wasn’t important enough to him to out these people until it became politically helpful for his chosen candidate in VA-2.  If he only just received them, he should out the person who sent them to him because clearly they didn’t think calling out Bartholomew and Beauchamp was important until two weeks before the election.

This whole thing stinks.

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