Friday, April 17, 2009

The Sad State of Our County

With the State Convention tomorrow, there are a lot of email and blogs buzzing around. While I could write plenty about the proposed caucus resolution, about which I have very passionate opinions, something else needs to be addressed.

Many of you reading this, I'll assume, were at the Cleveland County Convention. I base this assumption on the fact that if you are reading this you are an involved Republican, and if this was forwarded to you, it is from someone who knows you live in Cleveland County. Of course, even if you weren't there, you undoubtedly have heard of the controversy surrounding our County Chairman's race.

If you were there, then you saw that my entire precinct voted for Chad Williams. That, obviously, means that I did. I believed Chad was motivated to work hard for the county and invigorate the grassroots with Conservative leadership. You know the results. Due to County vote tallying rules, Bobby Cleveland was elected Chairman.

Initially, I was encouraged by those individuals who said, "We will respect the office and work together to help build up the party."

Unfortunately, to our shame, this is not what has happened.

Almost immediately, before the county party or chairman really did anything, I began receiving emails inviting me to join organizations apart from the Cleveland County Republican Party, not in addition to the County Party but instead of. Backbiting about Bobby and how he won "by a technicality" is rampant.

First, let me address this concept that he won "purely by a technicality." I was there, as I'm sure most of you were, and I saw how it happened. And the bizarre nature by which this particular race ended will be the stuff of County legend. A lot of people were upset that the race outcome was determined by delegate vote allotment and not a pure delegate vote. In fact, this situation is not unprecedented.

POTUS is not elected by a pure majority vote of the people, as you know. POTUS is elected by the Electoral College. There are instances in history where the outcome of the general election was not the same as the outcome of the Electoral College. Or, POTUSes have been elected with a majority of electoral votes but not a majority of general population votes. They were still legitimately-elected Presidents.

Our County, District and State Conventions operate by similar rules through delegate vote allotments. I think my vote was worth .8 of a vote in the final tally, but in other precincts a delegate may have gotten a full vote or even 1.2 votes. This is the way the rules are structured, not just for Cleveland County, but for every county and every level on up.

Therefore, if any individual wins due to vote allotments, they have legally won that seat; and not just Bobby, but every other individual we elected that day.

I am not writing this to defend Bobby or anything he has said or done. His worthiness of the office of chairman will be shown in what he does with that office.

I am not saying that we should put unity over issues. Unity is important, but should not be a goal. We should never sacrifice our principles and issues for the sake of unity. That's why the system we have exists, to encourage discussion and debate. This is not disunity, as some would have you believe.

However, it is wrong to deliberately undermine an officeholder on a personal level because you are upset about election results. None of us are happy about who won the presidency last November. Even so, we are still to respect the office of the President - who is elected by the Electoral College, not by majority vote - call him out on ISSUES, and be critical of his ACTIONS.

There is no reason we are to show any less respect to our state and local offices. This isn't about Bobby. This isn't about unity. This is about who we are as Republicans.

To allow our county party's effectiveness to crumble due to petty grudges over an election for an unpaid, short-term position is inexcusable. Working together doesn't require unconditional love and devotion to an individual. It doesn’t require us to check our stand on issues at the door. But it does require enough humility to say, I am willing to consider each individual involved in the party as equally essential as myself.

We have to work together to bring our taxes down and fight new ones. We have to work together to elect good Republican candidates and keep our current elected Republicans accountable. We have to work together to raise funds for the county party. We can't do this if we are distracted by hurt feelings over an election whose winner will only hold their seat a couple of years.

The reason I am choosing to address this issue rather than that of the caucus is that we are facing a situation similar to the county chairman elections in our state chairman elections. Emotions are running high over this race, mine included. I can't say I've been pleased with the actions of all involved.

However, regardless of who wins, regardless of whether they get a pure majority vote as well as the allotted delegate vote (remember, it's the same system we used at County), we are still to respect the office of Chairman. And, regardless of who wins tomorrow, there will be wailing and gnashing of teeth. I know that. We have all day Sunday to recover from our loss (or our win. Sore winners are just as bad as sore losers).

Monday morning, however, we are all on the same team again. Unless we decide beforehand to commit to supporting our chairman or chairwoman and their leadership, it will not happen.

Monday morning, we aren't Jones people or Williams people. We are all Oklahoma Republicans. Those who continue to hold to a lost candidate as their one, true hope for the party have lost more than an election; they have lost their purpose.

Let's keep our purpose. Let's remember that we were the only state in '08 to go completely Red. Let's take that victory and carry it through the 2010 elections as a team.

Jaci Greggs
Precinct 50 Vice Chairman, Cleveland County
Politics and morality are inseparable. And as morality's foundation is religion, religion and politics are necessarily related. We need religion as a guide. We need it because we are imperfect, and our government needs the church, because only those humble enough to admit they're sinners can bring to democracy the tolerance it requires in order to survive. ~ Ronald Reagan

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