Republicans are frustrated and angry following the terrible events in Charlottesville this past week. We are angry, as all Americans should be, at the racism and violence that was on display. In no way do we support or excuse the actions of White Supremacists, Neo-Nazis, racists and bigots or so-called members of the Alt-Right.
Many of us have spoken out about this before, and have called for them to be unequivocally rejected by Republicans and Conservatives, a call that meets near universal agreement within our ranks. Yet we are frustrated because these despicable people choose to associate themselves with the GOP, and therefore we are forced to constantly defend our party, and even ourselves, against unfair charges of racism.
Non-Republicans are angry too, as we all should be, yet instead of seeking unity, their anger, and in many cases I suspect their opportunism, has led them to turn on our Republican President and to anyone associated with Republicans or Conservatives. This leaves many asking, “Is there anything we can do?”
Clearly nothing we say or do will mollify the left. That’s a blog for another day. But our party is our party, and we have to take action to clean up our own backyard.
Many people forget that political parties are voluntary organizations with no control over who declares themselves to be a “member.” If you declare yourself a Republican, then you are a Republican.
Some states have party registration, but the party has no control over who checks their box. Being a “registered Republican” is a personal choice, and registered voters alone decide what party to join.
In the Commonwealth of Virginia we do not even have party registration, so basically if you say you are a Republican, you are. One area where we can control membership, however, is in the Republican Committees, where membership is earned by nomination and, depending on the particular unit or committee, by election. So it was good to see one such committee take substantive action this week to officially repudiate the Alt-Right and their fellow travelers. In the coming weeks and months, I’m confident many others will do likewise.
This past Monday the 11th District Republican Committee of Virginia unanimously passed a resolution that said, in part, “Be it resolved that the 11th District Republican Committee denounces and repudiates white supremacy, ‘white nationalism,’ neo-Naziism, and the philosophy of the ‘alt-right;’” as well as “candidates of any party who knowingly seek the support of” those same groups. The full resolution is shown below.
Kyle McDaniel, Republican Party of Virginia State Central Committee Representative from the 11th Congressional District, was the author of the original resolution, which then had contributors from across the ideological spectrum within the committee, as well as several “friendly amendments” proposed during debate on the resolution.
I spoke with Mr. McDaniel today and asked him why he felt moved to draft the resolution. He explained that he was watching a live stream of the events in Charlottesville on Saturday, and got caught up in it for an hour and a half. “It was like a car crash, you didn’t want to watch, but you couldn’t help it.” He was upset and frustrated, and recognized immediately that this was a problem for the Republican Party and Conservatives in general, and that it was “up to us to fix it.”
The 11th District’s regularly scheduled meeting was Monday, so it was “providence,” according to McDaniel, that they had the opportunity to speak out so quickly in this official and powerful way.
McDaniel made the motion at the meeting held at the Prince William County Republican Headquarters on Monday night, and it was seconded by Stephen Spiker. The resolution was then debated for about an hour and half, with multiple committee members offering “friendly amendments” to clarify and improve upon the original text.
While the debate was extensive, it was respectful. Committee Chairman Paul Prados ensured proper parliamentary procedure was followed, even though that might have slowed down the process, to let all voices be heard. Clearly the committee wanted to do this right, and the resolution reflects the care they put into the statement.
McDaniel had alerted his social media community about his resolution over the preceding weekend, and distributed a draft to committee members prior to Monday. He also distributed the final resolution widely via social media and email following its passage. While there was discussion and comment, he did not feel that he was attacked by anyone for his initiative, either before or after the meeting.
“Eighty-five percent of the feedback has been very positive,” McDaniel offered, although “a few brought up ‘why didn’t you call out BLM or Antifa?’ ” He believes that the provision in the resolution that “calls on all political parties and organizations … whether of the left, right, or center — to purge themselves” of any organization that uses “violence as a form of political activity,” was sufficient.
“Anything else was deflection,” he said, and “what the Democrat party does with their bad apples [i.e. Antifa], that’s not my job as a member of the State Central; that’s their job to figure out.”
McDaniel plans on bringing a substantively similar resolution to the Republican Party of Virginia State Central Meeting in September.
We should be under no illusion that actions like this will satisfy Democratic Party activists, the media, or the far left. They feel they have an issue they can run with and truth or reason be damned, they are going to run with it. Still, it is right and good that the 11th District spoke strongly to this issue, as many have done, by officially rejecting White Supremacists and the Alt-Right.
The Party of Lincoln has never been the party of racism. We are proud of our history of fighting for the rights and liberties of all Americans. We reject the narrative, spun dishonestly by the Democratic Party and leftist activists, that we are a racist party. We have never been, and no Republican I know wants to start now.
Our President has been described in various ways as basically a one-man wrecking ball against “political correctness,” a trait many feel is sorely needed in our country today. Standing up to PC Culture and the anti-free speech movements does not make you a racist.
Similarly, just because some Alt-Right members might like that about him too, does not mean Republicans, including the President, agree with any part of their platform or ideology. Like the President has done repeatedly, we reject them, denounce them, and repudiate them. Republicans should take every opportunity to cast them out of our ranks.
Good work, 11th District Republican Committee of Virginia. Good work, Kyle McDaniel.