Do we really want a third term for a Vice Chair who appears to be more interested in pandering than in outreach?
Since early 2014, there have been ever-escalating smear attacks against our national committeeman, Dave Agema, that have been as predictable as the calendar, in that they’ve occurred, if my memory serves me correctly, during the runup to every national or state committee meeting last year, as well as during the weeks immediately preceding the “fall” state convention (and are now occurring concurrent to the weeks preceding the “spring” state convention four weeks from now). The pattern is also predictable, in that either Ken Braun or Dennis Lennox (occasionally Kathy Hoekstra just for the sake of variety) will get wind (via one of their trolls) of a social media post on Agema’s Facebook page, will then cherry-pick some alleged “money quote” from the source article (or an article buried up to three links deep from that source) and then report that “money quote” as though Agema originally said it . . . and never-you-mind that they can’t be bothered to accurately report what he actually said with regard to why he found something post-worthy. The next step, again ridiculously predictable, is that the three amigos will then use their press credentials to publish opinion pieces, which allegedly-more-credible reporters will then use as source material for front-page “news” stories, which the usual suspects will then use to fuel a smear campaign of manufactured outrage, which the party’s useful idiots and low-information voter bloc will dutifully echo as an ever-increasing crescendo of calls for Agema to step down “for the good of the party.”
Fully detailing this pattern and the miscreants perpetuating it – which I intend to do – is a topic for another day soon. My purpose in mentioning it here is to merely highlight the hypocrisy of selective outrage within the party leadership, specifically in regard to a certain vice chair whose own conduct has been perhaps more offensive than that of the national committeeman for whose resignation she has recently called.
“Black Lives Matter” is a movement that, according to the website, “was created in 2012 after Trayvon Martin’s murderer, George Zimmerman, was acquitted for his crime, and dead 17-year old Trayvon was post-humously placed on trial for his own murder” (their words, and spelling error, not mine). What they say about themselves, their national demands, and their take on Ferguson is, at least to me, unsettling both as individual statements and as a whole manifesto. Nevertheless, it’s a useful read for anyone who might think that engaging BLM activists in a thoughtful dialogue is a wise use of time. (I’m not saying that it isn’t, just that those who do so ought to be prepared in advance.)
Some of the “protests” are fairly absurd, such as the Huffington Post and Al Sharpton taking extreme umbrage over the 2015 Academy Awards lacking appropriate diversity. (Notably, Sharpton’s announcement drew an appropriately sarcastic response from Allen West.) Some have been interestingly attention-getting, like the recent “die-in” staged at a popular Capitol Hill cafeteria last week. And some have been . . . disturbing . . . such as the Black Brunch invasions of “white spaces” in major cities nationwide for no apparent purpose other than to somehow make the “white man” feel their pain.
Absolutely appalling was the use of the “Black Lives Matter” meme this past Wednesday by Frederick Young, of Detroit, at his sentencing hearing for his part (along with Felando Hunter of Jackson) in the torture and murder of Westland teens Jacob Kudla and Jourdan Bobbish. According to Gus Burns, when the killers were provided an opportunity to address the court prior to their sentencing, Young did so, not to express remorse, but rather to make a political statement:
“I would like to say sorry to the families of Aiyana Jones, Michael Brown, Eric Gardner,” he said to the surprise of the courtroom. “And I would like to apologize to them for not being able to get justice for their loved ones that were murdered in cold blood. And in respect for the people in protest I want to say, hands up, don’t shoot. Black lives matter.”
. . . which all of a sudden casts a very different light on a certain article that Colonel Agema shared to his FaceBook page (said article also shared by Colonel West to his website). Did the author of that original piece perhaps actually have a point? Other than Chad Selweski, who at least seems to have his cranium on the proper side of his keister, not one member of the drive-by media nor any of the political whores currently pillorying Agema can ever be expected to voice that admission.
Let’s cede the point that every 28 hours, a black person is killed by the police, which seems to be one of the core points of the current BLM protests. The last I checked (admittedly not since the summer of 2012), roughly every 69 minutes a black person is killed by . . . another black person. Why isn’t that drawing BLM outrage? Do those black lives not matter? My guess is not, as the race-baiters (and their media and political enablers) much prefer to ignore the facts in favor of the dishonest narrative. Not surprisingly, police officers nationwide, of every color, are mad as hell at the deliberate reinforcement of the lie that the greatest danger to young black men is from the police . . . when the hard evidence is very much otherwise. Nor will any of the race hustlers acknowledge the truth that a BLM activist learned the hard way after undergoing some “use of force” training courtesy of the Maricopa County Sheriff Department, because the truth would totally screw up their sermonizing.
And this brings me around to where I’m going with all this.
For those of us on Facebook, our newsfeeds are constantly bombarded by news of events going on around the state. For those of us on Facebook who are Michigan Republican political junkies, our newsfeeds routinely include our State Party Vice Chairs posting pictures of themselves at events (because, since Betsy DeVos left office in 2005, there really hasn’t been any actual committee work for them to do). I think we sometimes become immune to seeing their posts all the time and occasionally forget to pay attention to them.
My friend was paying attention on December 9th, when Ethnic Vice Chair Linda Lee Tarver posted that she was going to a “Black Lives Matter” forum. In fact, it troubled her so much that it lead her to post a sarcastic remark. Tisha Jones, former secretary of the Tuscola County Republican Party, replied, “Black lives absolutely matter – except the millions that have been aborted, right?” It seemed like a simple enough question, since it was likely not a topic that would be discussed at such a rally. A young man from elsewhere in the state, who wishes to not be named, posted a comment asking why it was only black lives that matter when we’re supposed to be the pro-life party. That person also asked why it wasn’t just as racist for them to hold a black lives (only) matter rally.
Their comments were quickly deleted by Tarver, and the original post has since disappeared. However, filling the void are two postings from the rally/forum itself.
One is a somewhat voluminous album of pictures from the rally. Most of the pictures are of community members addressing the audience. However, there are pictures depicting the death of Eric Garner, of NBA players wearing the “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt, a young black girl with tape over her mouth that read “Black Lives Matter,” and others. She didn’t post the context of the pictures, so the question of in what context these pictures were used is an open one.
The other post is a video showing Tarver briefly addressing the standing room only crowd at the rally (link to original here) (link to archived copy here, with apologies for any appearance of recording-of-a-recording quality). In it, she asked the crowd for help in pressuring Lansing to form an African-American Commission to go along with the Pan-Asian, Latin-American, and others who report to the Governor so that laws and policies can be put in place to “deal with the issues at hand.” It should be noted here that Tarver is a Commissioner with the Civil Rights Commission. She can also be heard saying that a Legislative Black Caucus is not enough. “We don’t need to play politics with our children’s lives,” she says before going into a story about how her son “fits the description.” She tells the room how her son is pulled over by Lansing Police every time he comes to visit her in Lansing (emphasis hers). She says, “My father taught my brothers how to get stopped by the police, and I had to pass that on to my sons.”
Is this what we’re referring to as “ethnic outreach” these days? To be quite frank, that sounds like some serious pandering to me.
My final point here is with regard to a letter that Mrs. Tarver wrote to Colonel Agema on the very same day that Agema opted to endorse Tarver’s opponent for the position of Michigan Republican Ethnic Vice-Chair, Darwin Jiles Jr., the founder of Flint Urban Culture.
In her “Open Letter to Michigan National Committeeman Dave Agema,” Tarver begins by lamenting that her read of the articles surrounding Agema’s latest antics is a sad reminder of how much work we have yet to do on race relations in this country. She then proceeds to discuss what appear to be three talking points:
- The apparent gist of her first talking point is that, because Agema isn’t a black man, and therefore cannot understand the black experience, he thus cannot criticize black people (even if a prominent black leader should absolutely agree with and approve of that criticism), because only blacks can criticize other blacks. Further, this is something that is so obvious and commonsense that someone at Agema’s “stage in life” ought to already understand it. (This logic should also apply to anyone who’s never served in law enforcement or the armed forces, pity it doesn’t.)
- I have no idea what she’s trying to accomplish in her second talking point. I grant that I don’t have a Masters of Divinity, but I am an educated man, and a regular student of Scripture. I read this paragraph as a complete out-of-context abuse of the source Scripture passages, specifically including the reality that the apparent “money passage” (Proverbs 6:16-19) applies properly to the immoralists who insist on denouncing Agema based on fabricated pretense. (I should also observe that even Satan quotes Scripture, but only a fool would trust him.)
- Given the prominent presence of multiple “black Republicans” at this month’s Tea Party PowWow, who were quite happy to be openly associated with Colonel Agema, I confess to a bit of curiosity as to precisely whom she’s referring to in her third talking point. Given that she has to rely on misrepresented discourse as the basis for her position, by what authority does she propose to “close out” Agema’s free speech account? (Is that even a thing?)
I have every reason to believe that her plea that Agema resign is going to go about as far as every other spurious request that’s been made over the course of the past year, and for the exact same reasons. An honest examination of the actual facts in evidence clearly provide not one whit of justification for those requests . . . not that the haters-and-baiters will bother to bind themselves to the truth, as that’s never been their style.
For the record, so far as I’m aware, Mr. Jiles is in fact on the ballot as a convention candidate for Michigan Republican Ethnic Vice Chair, – in spite of shenanigans by district chairs Norm Shinkle and Paul Welday designed to make Jiles’ ballot access difficult – so that Mrs. Tarver isn’t standing for reelection without a challenger to her incumbency. That, in my opinion, is a good thing, because Tarver needs to be on the receiving end of a very certain message that her actions aren’t above reproach, either.
The best way to send that message is a credible challenger who has a fair shot at unseating her.