GOP Governor Rick Snyder with racist bigot Dave Agema
This post has been updated below and the title changed to reflect the update.
It wouldn’t be January in Michigan without a new outrage from our state’s most nauseating bigot Dave Agema. On New Years Eve, Agema took to his Facebook page to share a particularly odious article from a white supremacist named Michael Smith. The article is from the May 2014 issue of a white supremacist publication called American Renaissance, a website that is blocked on my work computer as “Hate Speech”. The key take home message from the article is this:
[B]lacks are different by almost any measure to all other people. They cannot reason as well. They cannot communicate as well. They cannot control their impulses as well. They are a threat to all who cross their paths, black and non-black alike.
In his Facebook post, now taken down or at least hidden, Agema said the article is “very enlightening for anyone who is concerned about crime in America”.
The silence from Michigan Republicans on this racist garbage has been deafening. In fact, one of the candidates running for the Chair position of the Michigan Republican Party, Joel Poynter, actually defended Agema in a recent MLive article, saying he is simply espousing the views of the Republican Party’s platform when he posted a particularly offensive anti-gay item to his Facebook page last year that claimed, among other things, that gays are responsible for half the murders in large cities, 39-59% of homosexuals are infected with intestinal parasites like worms, flukes and amoebae, and that part of the homosexual agenda is to turn people from Christianity:
Poynter, 61, is chair of the Lake County Republican Party. He’s an engineer who contracted with Delphi and worked with Detroit automakers. […]
“Dave didn’t say anything that really wasn’t part of the platform,” said Poynter, referencing the party’s official stance on gay marriage. “But yet some at the state level really tried to crucify him. I have a problem with that. If it’s in the platform, why are you crucifying this guy?”
Three extremist Republicans who were recently elected to the legislature, Cindy Gamrat, Gary Glenn and Todd Courser, were enthusiastically endorsed by Agema and he will appear at a tea party “Pow Wow” event along side them this weekend at a casino. The event’s theme is “Elevating our game & going on offense”. Agema will be part of a panel titled “Inner-Party Politics – Committees and Conventions: stories, strategy and tactics to bring the GOP back to its platform.”
In other words, while the Party leadership says nothing, Agema is being elevated by those who seek to take it over and have been invigorated by their success in last year’s election.
This is today’s Michigan Republican Party. Promoting racism and bigotry while claiming these things are an inherent part of their Party’s platform. When you’ve Ken Braun as a Republican, you know you’ve really gone off the rails.
At least outgoing MIGOP Chair Bobby Schostak had the decency to abandon Agema when he became too toxic.
Here’s the Michigan Democratic Party Chair Lon Johnson’s response to Agema’s latest outrage:
This racist screed is hateful, unacceptable, and just plain wrong. Agema has repeatedly stepped over the line with absurd language against women, African-Americans, Muslims, and the LGBT community in Michigan. Republican politicians should know it’s their responsibility to stand up for everyone in Michigan. It’s long past time for Republicans to stop pandering and finally take a stand against hate.”
One more thing: three days before Christmas, Agema posted a link to an anti-gay article titled “For Our Friends Who Call Themselves ‘Gay'”. That lengthy article claims, among other things, that “mutating untreatable strands” of sexually transitted diseases “typically start within [the homosexual] community”, that “homosexual sex is an unnatural and unhealthy practice, and should be discouraged at least the same way we discourage cigarette smoking”, and that you should “treat your homosexual desires like alcoholism”.
UPDATE: Progress Michigan is calling on Michigan tea partiers like legislators Todd Courser, Cindy Gamrat, and Gary Glenn to disinvite Agema from their “Pow wow” this weekend. Here’s their statement from executive director Lonnie Scott:
We see lawmakers like Speaker Cotter and Rep. Gamrat and their Tea Party allies as having two choices. It’s decision time for the Michigan GOP: Does Dave Agema truly represent your party and its beliefs, or is he just a bombastic ignoramus? They can remain silent in the face of bigotry, or they can actively weed it out of their party.
UPDATE: Bobby Schostak, the chair of the Michigan Republican Party, finally got around to responding to Agema’s racist BS a full eight days after it happened:
Michigan Republican Chairman Bobby Schostak said this morning that he was unaware of the particulars of what Agema posted or re-posted, but said if they were similar to prior posts and commentaries then they were inappropriate and not helpful to the Republican cause.
“The governor has said it, and I’ve said it. Leaders across the state have said it. Other elected officials have said it – this not the kind of dialogue that we want coming from our Republican leadership,” Schostak said. “We get a lot of people that reach out to me and other leaders, and ask, what’s with this guy?”
Last year, Schostak, Governor Rick Snyder, and Republican National Committee Chairman Rience Priebus were among those who called on Agema to quit. Schostak says his opinion has not changed.
“He does not represent the values of our party, of our state committee, of our national committee,” he said.
Better late than never, I suppose…
Still no word, however, from any of the Michigan elected officials, including Gov. Snyder. Ronna Romney McDaniel, the front-runner to replace Bobby Schostak as the MRP Chair, has remained equally silent. Hey, Ronna, since your election is just a few weeks away, you might want to weigh in on your feelings about racists representing your Party here in Michigan.
[Meme courtesy of Progress Michigan, used with permission]