William Crandell: Agema reflects the attitude of many republicans

Published 9:12 am Thursday, January 30, 2014

Over the past year, former state representative and current Michigan Republican National Committeeman Dave Agema has made a number of derogatory comments regarding homosexuals and Muslims.

He has made references to what he considers the “filthy lifestyle” of the gay community and even posted an article questioning the value of the Muslim community here in America.

Last yea,r at a Republican holiday dinner in Berrien County, he stated that gays only supported the Affordable Care Act to get coverage because they were dying from AIDS. Agema has also made statements that America should cling to a 1950s notion of human rights and equality in an era where the poor and racial minorities suffered under injustices.

He either does not know the facts or would like to see those rights once again suppressed.

Recently, Republicans such as Betsey DeVos, Fred Upton, National Republican Committee Chair Reince Preibus and Michigan GOP state Chair Bobby Schostak have all called for Agema to resign because of his divisive and discriminatory comments. But, in a statement released last week, Agema referred to his critics as liberals within the Republican Party and refused to resign stating that he represents a good portion of the Republican base and he will continue to fight for their views.

In an age when conservative thought is dictated to many by the likes of Rush Limbaugh, Glen Beck and Fox News, the prejudicial opinions of Agema have become the norm for many conservatives.

These GOP pundits have clearly created a culture of hatred and intolerance that embraces wealthy white superiority and Agema is a poster boy for those views.

The blatant fear mongering by these men has made being a racist or a homophobe fashionable among some conservative circles and has created a civil war within the GOP over the direction and very soul of the conservative movement.

Racism is no longer something that is whispered about in the backrooms, but is supported by the stereotypical legislation passed in recent years that cuts off help to the poor and seeks to suppress the voting rights of minorities.

We live in an ever-changing world and this sort of hate speech has been granted a toehold in the Republican Party, and reflects a growing fear among conservatives that they are losing control of this country.

White protestant America is now being held accountable for hundreds of years of discrimination, and they do not like it.

Even though I am happy to see that so many Republicans are willing to stand up to the likes of Agema, the fact of the matter is they have allowed these hateful attitudes to fester and are only seeking changes because they are now in the public eye during an election year.

If Republicans really want to win back the hearts and minds of voters, they need to drive these disruptive hatemongers from their ranks.

We’re living in a new world. Get onboard or get lost.


William Crandell is a community activist and member of the Michigan Education Association and the Michigan Democratic Party. He is also a member of the South County Democratic Club where he has served as their communications director and as the chairperson of the SCDC Blue Tiger Community Action Committee.