Missed Opportunity

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    Luckily while all the wrangling was taking place yesterday regarding filings for the DPVA chairmanship, I was watching my son, a junior in high school, play in his first high school baseball game.  He has tried out for the appropriate level high school team since he became eligible…his 8th grade year.  He’d been cut each time-first cut, every year. He’s continued to play baseball on travel baseball teams in an effort to improve his skills. He told me in January, “I’m not going to try out this year. Coach is never going to  choose me to be on the team.”  It was his decision to make and I told him I’d support whatever decision he made.

    About a week before tryouts, he came home with the Virginia High School League physical form, handed it to me, and said, “Can you get me a doc’s appointment so I can get this physical?  I’m going to try out for the team.”  Tryouts this year were torturous and extended because it seemed every other day weather caused another day off school…  After three days, he had survived the first cut.  Then more weather delays and finally on Monday, he learned he’d made the team after six days of tryouts over a two-week period.

    We, as a group, those in opposition to Mayor Jones’ candidacy for the Chair of the Democratic Party of Virginia weren’t so successful.  There were rants and raves about Governor McAuliffe nominating someone who doesn’t support equality for all.  Pressure  was building, the grassroots was speaking out, folks writing blog posts, seeking signatures for petitions,  some committees writing resolutions, but in the end, we folded.  We didn’t find a candidate to run against Mayor Jones and so we will end up with a figurehead as our Chair.  Not someone who has the time to work to improve the DPVA.  Not someone who even believes in the basic tenet of equality for all.

    Anyone who has had a child play high school sports knows how political it can be. It is political here, has a lot to do with the clique you are in, the people you know.  My son overcame the politics by working hard to improve his skills and by not being afraid to stand up to the “establishment.”   I’m very proud of him

    I’m not so proud of those of us who stood in opposition to Mayor Jones’ candidacy.  Some were willing to voice their opposition publicly.  Some weren’t.  I was told by one person, “It would be suicide to buck the establishment.”  Maybe so, but at what point do we as the grassroots stand in solidarity to say enough is enough, “This is our party.”  The opportunity was before us and we struck out.  An opportunity missed that may not present itself again for a long time.    

    • The issues surrounding Mayor Dwight Jones and his candidacy for DPVA Chair should be troubling to all Democrats – not just the LGBT community. Our party must stand for equal rights for all – period. Anything less is unacceptable.

      I have not heard anything that gives me confidence that Mayor Jones will fight for full marriage equality in the various ways needed in the coming years. However, with the news that there will not be opposition on the ballot this weekend, it is important to extend a hand and ask once again: Mayor Jones will you please join every statewide elected official and the vast majority in our party in supporting full marriage equality and promise to always lead the Democratic Party towards equal rights for all Virginians? This weekend would be a great time for Mayor Jones to publicly join us in this movement. The party chair must unite Democrats – not divide us – and we need Mayor Jones to publicly support equal rights for all in order to do that.

    • pontoon

      on my computer put in cliche instead of clique.  I should proofread before posting.

    • We need a Democratic Party Chair who can give full-throated support to marriage equality. Unless he changes his views immediately, Mayor Jones becomes a dangerous example to those who want to backtrack on full equality. He would give an excuse to those who believe that the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution is optional, that “equal protection under the law” is conditional.

      It is not. It has never been. And it should never be, whether on grounds of race, religion, gender, national origin, or sexual orientation. If you say, as Mayor Jones has, that you don’t believe in discrimination under the law — while at the same time actively supporting discrimination under the law — you are at best a hypocrite.

      Luckily, there is still time, Mayor Jones, for you to change your mind.  I have advocated this in private to people who I knew would send the message to you.  But since you haven’t responded, I will now say publicly what I asked you to say…and there is still time for you to say:

      “I fully agree and support equal civil rights for all Americans, without regard to sexual orientation, including the right to marry. After deep contemplation, I recognize that I can no longer support any law or legal system that sets up a standard of second-class citizenship. Even though my religious tradition does not contemplate same-sex marriage, I firmly believe in the separation of Church and State.  I can maintain my deeply held religious views while recognizing at the same time that we as a nation should never force the views of one particular faith on those who do not share it; just as I would not want those of another religion to force their religious views on me. I recognize and appreciate the efforts of those who have asked me to clarify my position, and I do so today with a full heart, so that we can move together as a united Democratic Party of Virginia and speak with one voice on issues ranging from the economy to the environment to civil rights.”

      If Mayor Jones will not issue a statement such as this, making clear that he does not believe his religious faith trumps the Constitution and equal rights under the law, I fear the Democratic Party of Virginia under his leadership will not be sufficiently united or energized to focus on winning the General Assembly back from Republicans.  The time for Democrats to disagree on such a basic human and civil right as equality under the law has passed. Governor McAuliffe, if Mayor Jones will not stand up for full equality under the law, I respectfully ask you to withdraw his nomination.