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Rockbridge mass meeting: ‘I heard you used to be a conservative’

While at the Rockbridge Area Republican Committee mass meeting last Saturday morning, I set up my laptop in the lighting/press box area in the back of the auditorium overlooking the seats and stage. As I busied myself getting ready to begin live-blogging the event, a gentleman stepped up to the window and looked in at me.

“Someone told me you are Lynn Mitchell,” he said.

Looking up, I smiled and said, “I am Lynn Mitchell!”

Reaching his hand through the window to shake mine, he said, “I’m Ken Adams. Nice to meet you.”

“Oh! Nice to meet you, too,” I said as my brain raced. Ken Adams. Ken Adams. Ken Adams. It took about 0.5 second and then I realized he was the controversial Waynesboro GOP chairman who had brought the lawsuit against the 24th Senate District to prevent incumbent elected officials the choice of nomination and requiring it to be conventions.

“But,” I added, “I don’t agree with everything you have done within the Republican Party.”

“Oh?” he asked. “Like what?”

Knowing such a conversation could last hours, I laughed and told him we would need to discuss it at a later time because I was getting set up for the meeting that was set to begin in a few minutes.

Looking at me, he then said, “I heard you used to be a conservative. What happened?”

I looked at him, puzzled. “I am a conservative. What makes you think I’m not?”

As he kind of grinned, I added, “Whose definition of ‘conservative’ should we use? Yours? Mine? Someone in this room?”

He stood looking at me and I could almost see the wheels turning in his head. “Interesting,” he said. His response almost had a question mark at the end as if he could not quite comprehend someone being a conservative who did not walk lockstep with him.

Turning to go, he added, “It was a pleasure,” and walked back to his seat.

As he left, I couldn’t help but think that’s part of what is wrong with the Republican Party as the civil war continues. There is far too little tolerance of others’ beliefs, way too much purging of those who don’t walk lockstep, and too much power-grabbing without results, i.e., recruiting and electing public officials. Last time I looked, politics was all about addition, not subtraction.

(For background on Ken Adams see 24th Senate District: Court upholds laws of Commonwealth, Hanger gets primary [1].)