Guest MINDSETTER™ Gardiner: Teaching Moment for RI Young Republicans
Tuesday, February 13, 2018
Succinctly reported in GoLocalProv today, “a female member of the Rhode Island Young Republicans (RIYR) is alleging she was ousted from the political organization after a relationship with the current RIYR President went sour." A taped conversation provided with the article depicts the President of the Young Republicans of RI explaining to Ms. Rachel Hussey that she violated 10 by-laws (silly rabbit, de-regulation is for business!) “by doing what she did” and she is “out.” In the taped conversation, Ms. Hussey protests that nobody told her.
This isn’t the sort of thing that Republicans want to read in their go-to local political news source and when the coffee spray settles and the Democrats stop snorting it out their noses, we are left with a serious issue: Should a person be kicked out of a political organization, by its President, citing no actual official voter or process? Rachel Hussey may or may not have clean hands in this train wreck of alleged courtship behavior, but she has a basic human right to notice of a proceeding to expel her from a political organization affiliated with a state political party that enjoys a privileged ballot position by force of state law. If there is no due process in your organization, especially if you are part of a major political party, make some. Give some. Exemplify how we do things in America.
We live in an “outrage of the day” or week time. It can be, contrived, partisan and politically opportunistic. It can even be called “click bait.” Some say such a story focuses on insignificant behavior by persons not serving in an elected office. But, does that mean you ought to dismiss and ignore uncritically the mistreatment of Ms. Hussey? My own initial reaction was to the silliness of letting personal situations escalate into high drama. But I had to think again.
Humor can be dismissive, just like flag-waving nationalism can be dismissive of the fair complaint about identity politics. But click bait or not, Ms. Hussey claims to be unaware of an expulsion, the President RYRI claims it was an expulsion for ten violations, and doesn’t cite any official date of action or vote or any due authority at all. You may think the story focuses on trivial behavior, but you ought not dismiss M. Hussey’s complaint. I don’t know all the equities here, but a properly run political organization should exemplify basic due process. Ms. Hussey deserved notice and a hearing. That is a challenge to the Republican Party of Rhode Island and its leadership.
I would urge Republican leaders to reach out to the President of the RIYR and suggest that any unauthorized action against Ms. Hussey be renounced and apologized for, or, that they conduct some sort of due process. This is no free lunch for Ms. Hussey either. I don’t know all the circumstances. Heck, the parties might just acknowledge that things got out of hand and the replace acrimony with grace and manners, and seek again never to offend. But even if they do that, the issue Is no longer the arguably trivial beginnings of the conflict, but rather, the fact that Young Republicans thought it’s okay to simply declare a member expelled, or that the President did so without telling anyone or seeking actual authority.
Since it was claimed Ms. Hussey was formally expelled, and it looks wrongful, the Republican Party and or the Rhode Island Young Republicans need to formally or publically and officially address that. The lead, of course, should be within the YR’s, but if necessary I would expect some Republicans could give the right lessons that show Republicans are not dismissive, but responsive, are not overly proud, but willing to see what’s broke and fix it, and to never see shunning and exclusion as an easy fix, unless in accordance with the law” and due process.
Michael J. Gardiner is an attorney residing in Providence. He was a Republican candidate for office in 2010 and 2012.
Related Slideshow: GoLocal: Benchmark Poll, October 2017
Next year, in November of 2018, there will be a statewide general election for Governor and many other state offices. How likely is it that you will vote in this election?
Will you definitely be voting, will you probably be voting, are you 50-50...
Definitely be voting: 78%
Probably be voting: 13%
What would you say is the number one problem facing Rhode Island that you would like the Governor to address?
Jobs and economy: 21%
State budget: 9%
Corruption/Public integrity: .8%
Don’t know: .9%
Recently, a proposal has been made to permit the issuance of $81 million in bonds by the State to build a new stadium for the Pawtucket Red Sox. If there was an election today on this issue, would you vote to approve or reject issuing $81 million in financing supported moral obligation bonds to build the stadium?
Net: Approve: 28%
Definitely approve: 15%
Probably approve: 14%
Net: Reject: 67%
Probably reject: 19%
Definitely reject: 48%
Don't know: 4%
The next question is about the total income of YOUR HOUSEHOLD for the PAST 12 MONTHS. Please include your income PLUS the income of all members living in your household (including cohabiting partners and armed forces members living at home).
$50,000 or less: 27%
More $50,000 but less than $75,000: 13%
More $75,000 but less than $100,000: 13%
More $100,000 but less than $150,000: 17%
$150,000 or more: 13%
Don't know/refused: 17%
What particular ethnic group or nationality - such as English, French, Italian, Irish, Latino, Jewish, African American, and so forth - do you consider yourself a part of or feel closest to?
Black or African American: 6%
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