Saturday in Charlottesville the Republican Party of Bedford supported the use of a Convention to pick the next Congressman for the 5th Congressional District. Some of you may say “so what, how does that affect me.” In a Primary every registered voter can voice their decision either in-person in the voting booth or by absentee ballot. In this Convention there will traditionally be approximately 1200 to 1500 delegates who show up as opposed to the approximate 124,000 actual Republican Voters who did vote in the 5th District in 2014. These political activists will meet in Nelson County on May 14, 2016 to choose the Republican Nominee for this November’s General Election.
If you are not one of Bedford’s 450 allowed proportional delegates, you do not get a voice in the decision. If you do not register as a delegate, you are excluded. If you cannot take off from work for the day long Convention, you are excluded. If you are elderly and normally vote by absentee ballot, you are excluded. If you serve this country in the military overseas or out of the Commonwealth, you must jump through several complicated, archaic political hoops or you are excluded. Before you become indignant about being excluded from the process to exercise your rights, let me give you the reasoning that the political extremists here in Bedford County use to disenfranchise you.
In a recent News and Advance Article, one of our local far right members of the Republican Party is quoted: “A primary brings individuals who aren’t even aware of the candidate,” said Travis Witt, the 5th’s State Central Committee presidential representative. “What happens [when] you have a convention, you generally have individuals who are very well aware of a situation and well aware of the candidates and their perspectives.” That’s right Folks he just said if you are not a political activist you’re too dumb to choose your Candidate.
If you think that is sad, consider this, early last Summer, the current local Republican Chairman used the same argument to justify using a Convention for the choosing of the Republican Nominee for President. Boyer and his Convention Believers did not succeed, but the vote was 42 to 40 with 1 abstaining. Yes, folks, that is how close we came to losing our ability to choose our Presidential Candidate in the March 1st Presidential Primary. While the far right members of the Republican Party say they champion the rights guaranteed under the Constitution and Bill of Rights, by their actions they really only mean they want these rights for a select few. I am a True Reagan Republican who believes in the large tent idea and I also believe that “Bad things happen if good people do not stand up”. These people who desire to exclude all who disagree with them and only want people, who are “like” them, actually alarms me.
Lee Walker lives in Bedford.