Speech controls on political speech about a Republican primary race – more examples of what fuels the Trump phenomenon – i.e. totalitarians.
The Elbert County Citizens message instructing the Citizens not to comment, under the heading encouraging them to share ideas, probably captures the point of this post the best.
You have to be a registered Republican to get elected to public office in Elbert County. You don’t have to uphold any ideals normally associated with the party, and an activist minority here loudly prefers that you don’t. Party affiliation in Elbert County tells you about as much as hair color. It’s a non-dispositive attribute.
This greatly complicates matters around election time because the signals that people normally use to read the political landscape aren’t reliable. Candidates have constituencies, but the constituencies don’t know each other and aren’t identified unless they out themselves.
Politics used to be a social affair where people could air their views and engage each other with some expectation of understanding. Political parties aren’t really necessary for that to happen. But if they exist it would be nice if they meant something because the two political parties in America now speak different languages, and they don’t generally understand each other very well.
In Elbert County, however, politics are bifurcated. They are de facto non-party, under a de jure party system. On the one hand, a common party affiliation leads to an expectation of not-wildly-divergent political views, while on the other hand, wildly-divergent political views pop up under the Elbert County Republican rubric all the time.
Moreover, the minority use this confounded landscape as a tactic to ratchet the majority into the minority’s way of doing things. Under the flags of transparency, regulation, and accountability, they use subterfuge, coercion, and harassment. Like rust, the militancy never rests.
Every now and then an activist will carelessly or proudly name-drop a dash of Marx, an Alynsky rule, or a big government maxim. But they rarely get called on it because, after all, who would expect to meet a communist principle in a Republican framework?
When someone has the temerity to challenge their leftism, the shock and dismay that anyone could even think something so dastardly about the little angels comes pouring out in teachable moments of politically correct speech proscriptions. The collectivist problem (in the Republican framework) isn’t relevant, but talking about it is a high crime.
A reasonable person would think communism to be a dead philosophy. Didn’t the Berlin wall come down? Wasn’t the Russian parliament attacked by tanks? But as the Sanders campaign and the Left’s current violence on American streets are showing, communism is alive here. It’s only dead or dying in countries that have actually been governed by it.
Elbert County’s Left never got the memo. And many of them became Republicans.
Will the coming generations cure this political mess in Elbert County? With so much institutionalized denial in local politics, with an activist minority who prefer to operate without criticism under artifice and pretense, and with the young conditioned in school to look first to government for solutions, I expect not.
A return to a functioning two-party system in Elbert County wouldn’t, by itself, fix the negative consequences of subterfuge. We have an ethical deficiency, and that’s a little more difficult to remedy.
The Republican Party in Elbert County talks about how their job is to elect Republicans. And surely it is, but that’s like having a job to make sure the wind blows around here. It’s going to happen regardless of what anyone does.
The Elbert County New Plains Left have already criticized the new commission, and no matter what happens over the next two years, they will stay hyper critical. Recalls will be attempted and lost. Defamatory cartoons and opinion paragraphs will be penned. Commissioners will be stalked, ridiculed, insulted, and made the butt of jokes. Very little of what commissioners actually say will be addressed in the context it is delivered. All ambiguities will be construed against them. No benefit of doubt will accrue to them.
Will they deserve this maximally harsh treatment? No, of course not. But what treatment do they deserve?
The new commissioners were built up by the New Plains Left last Spring and Summer. Everyone knew the Left’s support for Rowland and Ross would evaporate if they defeated Shipper and Schwab, because the point was to put weaker candidates in place to face off against the Democrats. But the Democrats were supposed to win in the General election. When they didn’t, the Left were exposed in an awkward hypocrisy.
In the wings of this Primary electoral Kabuki theater, the Republican Central Committee sat silent. The ECR leadership, deterred by ECR bylaws from speaking out before the Primary, to this day have maintained public silence about the new commissioners. Rowland and Ross return the favor by avoiding Republican Central Committee meetings. Silence by the Republican leadership in 2012 constructively helped them get elected, but concerns about the candidates’ Republican bona-fides persist.
Conservatives believe in a linkage between freedom and responsibility—the two positively correlate. The ECR leadership freely chose their path in 2012. By doing so they earned the responsibility to do what they can to make this electoral outcome benefit Elbert County. Voters elected Republicans, not liberals. ECR leaders have a duty to deliver Republicans, not liberals. ECR leadership may not just bow out and allow matters to foreseeably degrade now that the election is over.
While there is no legality to enforce this duty, the ECR leadership have an ethical responsibility to help this commission understand and act on real conservative values, every step of the way, at least until they prove they can govern as Republicans.
Party leaders spend many unremunerated hours to make the Elbert County Republican Party function. This provides a valuable service to the county. Other things being equal, that is more than anyone has a right to expect of them. But other things are no longer equal.
Without the bully pulpits of ECR leadership joined in the fight to keep these commissioners on a conservative track, voters will be at the mercy of the New Plains Left, and the uncertain Republican bona-fides from the candidates themselves.
Our ECR leadership must step up to offset the non-stop din emitted from the local Left. They need to defend and protect our Republican values in local property, zoning and taxation issues—all founded in constitutional principles. Empty rhetoric and campaign lip service will not protect us for the next two years.
The ECR leadership faces an intra-party election this February. The next two years are no time to continue business as usual. The next class of party officials must step up to the nature of this reality, use their offices to guide substantive local issues, and help make sure that conservative values prevail in Elbert County governance.
B_Imperial, Precinct 13