An old Chinese proverb goes ‘Never answer a letter in anger, and never make a promise in the midst of joy.’ I waited a good day and a half to write this. I want to congratulate Democrats on pulling off the impossible: actually showing up.
Not to mention you stuck together as a united ticket. And in the face of the revelation that Northam voted for George “W’ not once, but twice! I mean, if we learned one of our standard bearers had voted for Bill Clinton twice we would…um; yeeeahhh, never mind. Back to “Winning!”
I am a conservative. I don’t spend all day listening to talk radio, wearing tin foil hats or hoping we could all go back to the 1790’s. I am a human first. I cringe at the idea of people getting hurt. The truck ad put forth by Latino Victory Fund was pretty outrageous, but it’s not the first time the charge of racist or extremist has been gratuitously hurled at my kind. I’m going to add that the “Tea Party” reference – the Gadsden Flag to be exact – is a symbol of love and respect for the little guy and individual rights. How this became misconstrued is absurd. Half of my friends are either liberals or ‘blue dog’ Democrats and I LOVE it that way. It keeps me grounded. Ideas are worthless if they can’t stand scrutiny.
Immigrants are the salt of the Earth. A son of immigrants just got his ass handed to him because you wanted to make a referendum on the man in the White House. And no, I’m not talking about Ed Gillespie – who was far from deserving of the scarlet T he was branded with. I’m talking about Delegate Ron Villanueva.
Ron, a longtime leader in the local Filipino-American community, was unceremoniously trounced by a startup candidate out of left field who was a virtual ghost on the local campaign scene. He was targeted because he had an “R” by his name. Endorsed for the 21st district by the local Chamber of Commerce, the urban-progressive leading Virginia-Pilot, and several local charity organizations – Ron received the 2nd highest score of a Republican from the Sierra Club. He just survived a Tea Party challenger who thought he was too liberal. Yet he was slammed in ads as a “Trumpist.”
Rocky Holcomb, whose best friend is black and also the Godfather of his children, was the target of gutter-level attacks literally referring to him as ‘Racist Rocky’. He lost the 85th by a hair. It is been all out civil war among the Republican party here in southeast VA, which may make you happy, but let me remind you that the overwhelming majority of us are fighting against racism and support equal rights. We want people to make their own way instead of having their hands held by the state. Teach a man to fish. The party of Lincoln is still here.
Yet, I still see the Democrat Party directly blocking our attempts to outreach to minority communities. Mark Warner once told me “No political party owns a monopoly on patriotism.” Conversley, no party owns a monopoly on diversity. Let’s not pretend that LGBT constituents aren’t shamed into supporting democrats. A gay republican friend of mine was bullied and questioned if he was really gay. Tim Scott, the first black Senator from South Carolina since Reconstruction, was called an ‘Uncle Tom’ because he was a Republican.
Let’s also not pretend that this caustic attitude would be much different under a President Romney or Rubio. Virginia does have a history of voting for the losing party of a previous presidential election. Yet when (insert any Republican candidate) is running these days he is presented by your party as the worst human scum to walk the earth. The Hitler comparisons are wearing thin. Romney was a good man that you disagreed with and he was portrayed as Ebeneezer Scrooge.
I’ll tether this to one final precept. Not all of us agree with Trump or his ridiculous tweets and pompous behavior. We simply feel he was the best candidate at the time given the direction the country was heading. Constantly turning every issue into an accusation of racism is accelerating the dumbing down of America. Conversely, our side claiming Democrats are communists or socialists because we disagree is equally nauseating. You can call Tuesday collateral damage but remember I have seen countless Republicans post throughout social media, and a shared sentiment is that now they want to ‘resist’ and the model is a vicious cyclical déjà vu of the past 8 years.
The Virginia way, as McAuliffe and McDonnell before him, proved, is about embracing intellectual thought over group think and doing what’s right. Bipartisanship is not sending one side to the ‘kiddie table’ while unfounded accusations fly in the face of logic. I look forward to us moving forward as a state.