Manassas Journal Messenger | GOP is taking loyalty way too far

There is an interesting phenomenon that occurs when an attempt is made to limit the exposure or publicity that a particular issue receives. Specifically, the effort usually ends up causing the direct inverse result of the desired outcome.

For example, if you don’t like the new Snoop Dogg album because of explicit lyrics, don’t start a drive to ban it or you will likely end up making it a best seller. This is the case regarding the subject of my column today.

I was going to write about the charter school debate that has been raging on the opinion page over the past several weeks. However, after my experience the other night, I am compelled to write about the removal of Ruth Griggs from the Republican Party of Prince William County.

I attended a public meeting of the Prince William Republican Party on Monday, Sept. 22, held at Osbourn Park High School in Manassas. I have attended a number of PWC Republican Committee meetings, and even though there is always controversy and contention, as there is at any political gathering, I have never previously mentioned my observations in this column.

For those who have not been following the Occoquan supervisor race, Ruth Griggs strayed from the terms of the PWC Republican Committee application for membership when she recently endorsed a non-Republican.

The application states that a member who signs it intends to support all Republican nominees. I guess that my definition of the term “intend” differs from that of many Republicans. A more accurate term would be “must,” but I digress.

The dialogue began by the chair stating that he had called and asked Supervisor Griggs for her resignation, which she provided. At that point, apparently, some folks were concerned that my attendance at the meeting was a problem and a motion was passed for the committee to go into executive session.

This was carried out with the specific purpose of removing me from observing the proceeding, as I was the only individual in attendance who didn’t fall into any of the categories of those who were permitted to remain.

So while I do not know what specifically occurred behind closed doors, I can speak to the larger issue of the removal of Supervisor Griggs.

I guess I should consider myself fortunate for not having the police called on me as they were last week when John Gray peacefully sat outside a Republican fund raiser.

That I am more conservative than many Republicans, including some elected officials in attendance, was of no concern to committee members. Until recently I was a hard core Republican, with a history that includes previous membership in Young Americans for Freedom and volunteering on the Reagan reelection campaign.

In fact I continue to support candidates, regardless of their party alignment, who are grounded in traditional American values such as fiscal conservancy and the protection of unborn children.

During the June primary I personally donated two rounds of “Get Out The Vote” telemessaging calls and a number of Second Amendment endorsement campaign signs to Jeff Frederick.

It was within the right of the committee to ask for Supervisor Griggs’ resignation and to vote to remove her if she refused to tender it. She signed the application for Republican Party membership of her own free will, and the decision to endorse a non-Republican was made of her own volition.

That being said, there are Republicans who have previously supported Democrats and even attended their fund raisers? but they are still party members. This seems like a double standard if I have ever seen one.

I am stunned that someone as respected and as principled as Supervisor Griggs can be removed from the party for standing up for her values and supporting a candidate she personally believes will best represent the citizens in the Occoquan District. Especially in light of the fact that Republican representatives (especially in Northern Virginia) who support further gun control legislation, higher taxes, etcetera, still remain supported by the Republican Party.

Yet Supervisor Griggs, who doesn’t buy influence through the donation of discretionary funds and who refused to burden taxpayers with extravagant luxuries at the Virginia Association of Counties meeting in Homestead (which are just two examples as to why she is so respected) is shunned by the party.

I was recently taken to task by a reader about a comment I made in a previous column that stated: “As a Libertarian I am driven more by principal than party-line rhetoric.”

In short, he wanted me to defend my position. Well, this is a prime example. I can’t help but wonder if there are any Republicans out there that have the same problem I do with this pack mentality.

In effect, this membership policy seals the mouth of any Republican committee member from supporting someone in a different party, even if they believe that person will best represent the community in which they intend to serve.

I guess to some folks, the freedom to voice one’s opinion is best left to theory than put into practice.

To me their message is quite clear: If a Republican committee member knows that a Republican candidate or elected official does not uphold the ideals and philosophies as stated in the Republican platform, it is irrelevant. Just don’t support anyone from another party … even if they are the best person for the community.

Maybe it’s time to change the membership application.

James Simpson lives in the Occoquan District.

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