UPDATE: Jo-Ann Chase responds[read_more]
Since originally posting this yesterday, I’ve heard from numerous friends that Jo-Ann Chase has been accusing me of “defamation” for what I wrote below. Now, she has finally contacted me. Her words are a veiled threat at a lawsuit, and were intended to convince me to take down the post or to remove her name. She apparently has a history of this…I won’t respond in the same hilarious way that Greg Letiecq did a few years ago.
Instead, I’ll just say that she disputes my characterizations. I’ll leave it for the readers to decide the merits. In the meantime, our email exchange is pasted below in-full:
From: Jo-Ann Chase [REDACTED]
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 11:46 AM
To: Albertson, Steve [REDACTED]
Subject: Your Recent Posting
Your posting Tuesday includes several inaccuracies. First, I did not actively campaign for David Bell. Second, I have not spread any information about David Ramadan’s membership in the Muslim Brotherhood or his position on Sharia law. As you know, I am a common citizen, not an elected official, and you have made damaging inaccurate statements about me.
I was not in attendance at Monday evening’s LCRC meeting. As such, I was not given the opportunity to respond to any statements or accusations made.
Your credibility as an author hinges on the veracity of your statements. Here, you misrepresentations were quite harmful to me and others. I want you to remove my name from this inaccurate posting before it causes further damages to my family and my business.
You are a member of State Central Committee, and it surprises me that you would engage in this type of attack on a private citizen. I was ounce a member too.
By the way, I am from Puerto Rico and your usage of me as an example in this particular topic is totally inappropriate as my rejection from the LCRC is just another example of “Non-Nativism”.
From: Albertson, Steven [REDACTED]
Sent: Wednesday, May 13, 2015 12:00 PM
To: ‘Jo-Ann Chase’
Subject: RE: Your Recent Posting
First, I have a photos of your yard with the Democrat’s signs in it (and no others), and accounts from several people who say you did campaign for him. Second, I have spoken to a large number of different people (at least 10) who can testify that yes, you have spread malicious falsehoods about Ramadan, his faith, his alleged ties to Islamic radicalism, and how he’s somehow an insidious advance guard for imposition of sharia law in this country. Third, your actions are provably tied to your profile as a public figure. Fourth, you have visibly preyed on people’s prejudices in your opposition to Ramadan, so I frankly don’t care where you come from.
Finally, I will update my post, but I will not remove it. The update will report accurately that you dispute the characterizations I have made. People can decide for themselves whom they believe.
Original Post Published 05/12/15:
Much has been made of the supposed “nativist” tendencies of ordinary conservatives who advocate tighter enforcement of immigration laws and oppose blanket amnesty for illegal immigrants. Shaun Kenney has a truly excellent and thought-provoking piece on this today that is worth the read (seriously…read it).
At bottom, Shaun’s thesis is that there is a nasty undercurrent of racism, or “nativism,” just beneath the surface (and in the case he points out, sometimes bubbling above the surface) of much of the opposition to illegal immigration. He points out, for instance, the dubious claim that 2/3rds of illegal immigration comes from visa overstays, not from illegal border crossings, and that immigration hawks wouldn’t be quite so vigorous in their objections if we were facing a situation where all of our illegal immigrants were from Canada (i.e., if they weren’t brown people).
Many conservatives, as Shaun knows very well, become quite offended when told that their well-reasoned stance on wanting tighter enforcement of immigration laws is based on some sort of irrational phobia of people who look different than them. But, the subject of Shaun’s piece today is one reason why reasonable people can make that mistake: a conservative event in South Carolina where some folks laughed and cheered when an older lady equated illegal immigrants to “rats and roaches in the woodpile.”
Yes, there are people who oppose liberal immigration policies because of racism, and who have done so in ways more hateful and hurtful than this woman in South Carolina and the idiots who whistled and cheered her on. But that does not mean the vast majority of us are like that.
A GOP committee meeting last night in Loudoun County offers up just one anecdote that illustrates that your typical GOP voter isn’t motivated by bigotry.
A woman named Jo-Ann Chase, who is a long-time conservative activist, had applied to become a member of the Loudoun GOP committee. Committee member Eric Johnson rose to challenge the woman’s qualifications to join, given that she had openly supported a Democrat in the 2013 elections.
It seems Chase campaigned actively for Democrat John Bell who was challenging Republican Delegate David Ramadan, who is a successful entrepreneur, a dedicated public servant (who we hope runs for office again soon), and a hard core Republican. Just as importantly, he’s one of the warmest and most engaging personalities in Virginia politics. And oh yeah…he’s an Arab Muslim immigrant from Lebanon.
This doesn’t sit well with Chase. She has apparently been spreading the word that Ramadan is a Muslim (gasp!), as well as the completely vile falsehood that Ramadan is secretly a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, and is working to impose sharia law in Virginia. David Solomon, a supporter of Chase’s, rose to defend her by saying Chase supported John Bell because Delegate Ramadan is Muslim (!!), and repeated the outlandish claim that he’s a member of a Islamist jihadi organization, and a supporter of sharia law.
So, did members of the LCRC begin to whistle and hoot in support of this obvious display of bigotry? No, quite the contrary. They booed Mr. Solomon. When the question of Ms. Chase’s membership application was voted, we’re told that only 2 or 3 supported it, while the other 90+ voting members in attendance voted it down.
It’s a pretty safe bet that most of those people who rejected this display of bigotry in Virginia’s 87th House District are also vigorous opponents of illegal immigration, just like most other conservative activists.
Shaun Kenney’s criticism of the state of immigration politics in the Republican Party is valid…there are some racist jerks in our midst (as there are in the Democrat Party), and we must be mindful of that. But, as at least this single anecdote involving vehement rejection of anti-Arab Muslim bigotry and many other similar illustrations show, such criticism is likely overstated.