Ever since the embarrassing loss of the 2012 elections, the GOP is wondering how they can win over minority voters. I feel that they are genuine and well meaning in their quest to widen their base and attract those voters who have traditional sided with the Democrats.
Yet when the GOP and its loudmouth media has a chance, they insist on giving such communities the middle finger. I see this as I read the nutty reports in conservative publications. This week, right-wing media outlets aggressively harassed the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), a group I have worked for in the past, to release video footage of Chuck Hagel, President Obama's pick for Defense Secretary, speaking at their convention in 2008. ADC has changed offices (naturally they have storage space), gone through personal and leadership change since that date. The videotape in question was in the storage along with the archive.
It seems that reports for online publications like Free Beacon, Fox News, Breitbart.com, and The Weekly Standard have been waging their own war against a civil rights groups that was founded in the 1980s by a retired U.S. senator who wanted to combat discrimination. It appears as if those publications are giving themselves the right to be hostile toward ADC, and its employees, as they try to uncover yet another conspiracy they have cherished. The spokesperson on behalf of ADC, Abed Ayoub, told the press, "They came to our offices -- threatening us, demanding information, arguing with security. They got very abrasive, very aggressive.. In fact, the FBI was in here last week because of those type of threats."
When ADC found the video they placed it on their website, but the joke was on those right-wing extremists who found nothing controversial in the video. Instead, those seeking a scandal found Hagel having an intimate conversation with American voters who come from places like Michigan, New Jersey, California, Virginia and other places who want to be informed about their government. His broad-themed speech emphasizes activism and the importance of America's role in the world. ADC has worked with a number of US administrations where they have enjoyed cordial collaborative efforts with various government agencies that have come to appreciate the work ADC does on behalf of its constituents.
Perhaps these conservative voices are upset with former Senator Chuck Hagel because he was able to do something they have not figured out how to do: speak to people from a background different from their own. Senator Hagel has been attacked over and over merely for speaking to Arab Americans. Many GOP leaders invited by the Arab American groups do not bother to come, and I am certain Arab Americans are not the only minority the GOP bails out on. Frankly, this is a prime example of their exclusionary tendencies and the GOP needs to know this by now. The good senator from Nebraska was doing what the GOP, now four years later, is talking about doing: talk to every American.
Such ill-advised media campaigns, orchestrated by xenophobes, racists and misguided talking-heads, are aimed at bullying the Arab American community. What good does it do to label an American organization as controversial? There are more than 3.5 million Arab Americans in the United States, and they vote just like any other American. Something tells me the GOP did not win any votes by insulting the community and its leading organizations that stand for the U.S. constitution. I urge the GOP not to stand for such tactics if they really wanted to win a national election again. Whether the nomination of Senator Chuck Hagel goes through is another conversation to have, but the GOP is already derailing the American democratic process and they are certainly not winning any friends in the process.
As for ADC and the community it represents, they will be around as we move forward and as the GOP continues on its road to self-destruction. With a growing population of minority voters, they will make sure there will be fewer GOP politicians. The GOP will only have themselves to thank for that.
[Hat Tip: A. Hoover]