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The Millbrook Independent

May 24th
The disease called power
Written by News Desk   
Thursday, 29 August 2013 14:01

artparkerBy Art Parker, Editor

In addition to many other pundits, last week I told the tale of the Alabama GOP Executive Committee meeting and the feud brewing within the party over a proposed by-law amendment. The old powers, namely party Chairman Bill Armistead, wanted to run off those who hold beliefs different from his own. The Armistead crew decided to have a change in by-laws that would dismiss someone from the powerful committee (s) if they publicly stated a position different from the Republican National Committee or its platform. I said last week that I didn't know who was in charge of the Alabama GOP; Hitler or King George.

The Armistead crew was embarrassed and had their butts kicked painfully when their by-law proposal was defeating overwhelmingly on Saturday morning. The Young Republicans were able to garner more than enough "older Republicans" to form an alliance to overthrow the notion and send a powerful message back to the cro-magnon thinking party leadership.

Stephanie Petelos, a name you probably need to remember, was at the center of the party's lopsided weekend civil war. An important person in the young Republican movement in Alabama, Petelos thinks the GOP needs to lessen its harsh stance on gay marriage and concentrate on other issues. This was what made the blood pressure rise in the old guard and they wanted to rid themselves of anyone with an opinion unlike their own. Afterwards Petelos reportedly said, "It is easier to drive young people away from the party than it is to bring them into the party." She is absolutely right. I have a feeling the words "young people" were chosen carefully since the old guard appeared to throw rocks at "those young people" last week.

Now that the weekend has passed I see a couple of key things coming from the weekend activities. The first is the power of youth. I believe the first error made by the old guard in the Alabama GOP was to assume they could step on, stomp out and squelch the voice of youth in the party. This was a sad mistake. We should remember that President Johnson went before the nation on television and said, "I will not even seek the nomination of my party," referring to the election cycle of 1968. Viet Nam forced Johnson to know he could not win. More than anything, the youth of America would not tolerate it. The Tiananmen Square protests of 1989 in China were led by youth and received broad support from citizens. Youth that supported Castro in the Cuban revolution were willing to take bullets when challenging the political system. And, if you don't think youth are important just look at the current occupant of the White House. How did that scoundrel get there?

In no way am I suggesting we should always follow the notions of our young people. They can be just as wrong as the rest of us. But the last thing we need to do is look at them with contempt for their age and say, "Because we say so," or "We know best, that's why." No matter what the GOP leadership says, much of last week's adversarial atmosphere was created with young people believing they were viewed as unimportant and viewed as an unnecessary ingredient to the party's success. The Alabama GOP may have its opponent (Alabama Democratic Party) in a state of disarray, but the GOP can soon be the same by attempting to silence or disregard any part of its party.

The other thing coming from the weekend is the display of the disease I call power. I see it at all levels of government. It is the very reason why so many people distrust government these days. The Dems have their own power issues and so does the GOP. The GOP cannot stop telling people what to do. They say they believe in limited government but are ever too anxious to equip government with power over people to make them behave and act according to their wishes. In addition to the failed by-law amendment previously mentioned, Armistead and company tried to fix things with another failed move to make sure that elected officials could not serve on the state executive committee. What Armistead was trying to do was make sure he had no opposing voices of any substance on a ruling body. In other words he wanted to control people and the process, even if meant denying them their voice. The actions of Armistead and the old guard had the intent of controlling other people for their own benefit and convenience. Period.

Folks like this always destroy more than they build. Is the GOP leadership leading its party to destruction?

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