Politics: Small Business, Small Hearts, Small Minds
Submission by first-time contributor Steven Lee
Who’s the jackass? Or better yet: who’s the dumbass?
Keep reading. Before you think this is some commentary written by one of those self-loathing Family Research Council members or some other wing-nut—and God knows there are a ton of them—this is how I’ve chosen to describe whoever was responsible for dis-inviting Republican Congressman Allen West from attending a meeting which was scheduled to be held tonight, August 8.
The meeting was to be between Rep. West and the members of the Wilton Manors Business Association (WMBA). The by-laws of WMBA states: “The purpose of the association is to promote the development and growth of the Wilton Manors business community.”
Seems like a worthwhile goal for a group concerned about promoting their small businesses here in Wilton Manors (Fort Lauderdale, FL). All the more reason to ask their duly-elected Member of Congress to attend a meeting of the Association and speak, especially when you have a locally-elected Congressman who serves on the House Small Business Committee.
Before telling West to pound sand, the Congressman sent the WMBA president a letter stating he was looking forward to meeting with business owners to discuss issues such as access to capital, the national debt and the economy, as well as hearing directly from them on their concerns operating a business in South Florida.
Enter the Florida Gay, Lesbian Transgender Democratic Caucus and its president who upon hearing of the invitation demanded it be rescinded. And if not, he huffed, the caucus would demand the GLBT businesses within the WMBA quit and further threatened a boycott against those businesses which didn’t.
Well the idiot president said those businesses should be boycotted because they “put profits ahead of human rights.” Yep, that’s right. Afterall, the only reason I would want to start-up a new business that if successful (and dare say create a new job for some unemployed worker) is because human rights pays more than profits. (I wasn’t a business major in college, but I do think the goal of many businesses around the globe is to make a profit.)
Well needless to say there have been all kinds of groups and individuals weighing in on this topic pointing fingers. The Christian Family Coalition squealed with delight upon hearing this, issuing a statement supporting West and faulting the caucus president for intolerance.
Even the recent edition of the South Florida Gay News, Fort Lauderdale’s gay rag, went to press with its front page ablaze with a photo of a donkey and the Congressman. The headline which appeared with the photos read: A Tale of 2 Donkeys. I guess the inference is a tale of two jackasses, for after reading the accompanying news story AND an editorial by the paper’s publisher, it didn’t make alot of sense to me.
(But interestingly enough, this “publisher” not once mentioned the words “free speech.” But who knows what’s being taught in journalism classes at universities and colleges nowaday. I learned long ago while working on my journalism degree that “free speech” and “free press” were often intermingled by those Constitution writers long ago.)
But to be fair, (and I guess this is fair), the publisher’s editorial was headlined: “Allen West Needs to Be Censured, Not Censored.” All that editorializing aside, the paper was happy to offer a third story quoting what I guess were eight offensive statements in which they disagreed, and headlined it: “Allen West: In His Own Words.”
The comments focused on three topics: On Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell, Gay Marriage and Congresswoman Debbie Schultz (who by the way is the Democrat Member of Congress in the adjoining Congressional district to West).
West you might recall, called her vile, unprofessional and despicable.
But what amazes me, (though I’m not surprised at all) is that not one column inch of news or editorials in this Fort Lauderdale gay rag contained one word about West’s assignment to the House Small Business Commitee. (Excuse me but did someone say “SMALL BUSINESS?)
If I were a Wilton Manors small business owner and learned that West wanted to reduce the minimum wage 50 percent or demand that all employers make their employees work 80 hours a week , that would be good to know. But somehow the point of the whole exercise got tossed overboard.
Afterall, I’m sure this brilliant caucus president reasoned, we have much bigger fish to fry.
But the local daily newspaper here in Fort Lauderdale (The Sun Sentinel) got it right when they editorialized the Democratic caucus group president got it all wrong…writing: “intolerance is intolerable, and that’s why pressure on a Wilton Manors business group to disinvite a member of Congress is misguided.”
There are alot of reasons–be they valid or not–for disliking Congressman West. Most will say he’s homophobic, was against the repeal of DADT, too militant.
But when did it ever hurt to listen? Just sit down and shut the (****)-up.
Had these “tolerant” South Florida business owners and caucus president taken the time to listen they might have learned that Congressman West has a close relative who is gay and married to his partner.
“We love and adore them both,” wrote Congressman West’s wife, Angela, in a statement she wrote over the cancellation of the speaking event. She also referenced a fellow soldier and her partner who served with the Congressman in the Middle East. She even wondered aloud in her written statement that gee, “following the business portion of the meeting, maybe they could have discussed her husband’s views on DADT.”
“What a novel idea,” Angela West wrote, “having a personal discussion with a Congressman. But no it is far more important to vilify, de-personalize and really bar him from speaking.”
Amazing the things one can learn when you simply take the time to listen.
And if you have to open your mouth, just take a deep breath and remember how we are all supposed to spell the word: T O L E R A N C E.
That’s my two cents.
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