I read an email exchange recently between Republican LD28 Chairman Scott O’Connor and Precinct Committeeman Rob Haney. Mr. Haney is a former Maricopa County Republican Committee Chairman. It was chilling to read this exchange, because I had just finished reading an article in Pravda titled "America Resembling Anti-Democratic Regime: Russia’s Moment to Lead."
During the Cold War, Pravda was well known as the official voice of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union.
And now, after all these years, it is Pravda that has observed that, while Russia has returned to its religious roots and the end of Soviet Communism, America is in rapid moral and institutional decline:
"In recent decades, Russia has undergone vast political and social reforms underscored by a return to religious roots, the end of Soviet Communism, and new existential threats (among them domestic Islamic radicalism). All of these changes have necessarily resulted in political transformation.
"As Russia has changed, its former adversary – the United States of America – has also changed, with breakneck speed. America is in rapid moral and institutional decline – fueled by lawless government leaders and a seismic move away from God (at least the Judeo-Christian God that underpins Russian and Western societies), as well as the parallel rise of an entertainment escapism that displaces public awareness and voter engagement while blinding citizens to the loss of freedom and resultant blurring of moral boundaries.
"In short, America is beginning to resemble the regimes it topples and wars against. America no longer has the moral credibility to lecture other nations on the incontrovertible virtues of democracy and republican government."
Here is the email exchange between Scott O’Connor and Rob Haney. Mr. Haney copied members of the Executive Committee
January 10, 2014
I am taking the liberty of publishing our exchange of emails in an open forum because I view removal of the Invocation from our LD 28 meetings at the sole discretion of the executive board as a continuance of the attack on religion in our country. Other districts need to be made aware of how easily they can lose the rights they took for granted through the actions of a few anonymous complaints brought to a receptive executive board. To have a universally accepted, decades long practice within the Republican Party ended by fiat of the executive board without even debate or a vote of the body, is the height of arrogance and is reminiscent of Obama’s executive orders.
I would suggest to other LDs that they take preventative action possibly through a bylaw addition which states that the Invocation and Pledge cannot be removed from the opening proceedings of a district meeting without a vote of the LD precinct committeemen.
And, although it should not be necessary to tell you in advance of a motion to be offered in the next meeting to rescind the executive board’s edict to do away with the invocation, please add that motion to your agenda.
Now to your other points:
1) I find it disingenuous that after the meeting you took the time to compliment me on adding to the debate but now you are critical of my doing so.
2) You state that I have a tendency to interrupt and play games with the chair and the agenda and if I do so again, I will be removed. Responsible citizenship requires objections to unilateral dictates. Also, when you began the meeting with an uncalled for ad hominem attack on Russell Pearce, I felt it necessary to call you on it since you had called this unscheduled meeting to discuss the resolutions, not to attack the sponsors of the resolutions. This action was uncalled for and unprofessional. In your call letter you stated that we were going to discuss "no less than 11 resolutions put forth by Russell Pearce." That statement alone was denigrating and you proceeded to expound upon it at the meeting. To those of us who admire and respect Russell Pearce for his long record of unselfish service to our state and country, the attack was a "red flag," warranting immediate rebuttal.
3) You state that you do not care if we have the prayer or not but you and the executive committee wererespecting the wishes of those who were offended by the practice. You appear to have been biased in favor of removal to begin with or you would have brought the matter before the body of PCs for open discussion and a vote. My guess is that you have offended far more by removing the Invocation without a discussion than were offended by its inclusion.
4) The Preamble to the Republican Platform ends with the sentence, "May God continue to shed his grace on the United States of America." Do you and the executive committee of LD 28 now place yourselves above the Republican Platform?
5) Your last attack paragraph is too immature to warrant a response.
Scott O’Connor’s email to Rob Haney
January 8, 2014
I appreciate your right to disagree, and I gave you plenty of opportunities to do so last night.
However, your tendency to interrupt and play games with the chair and the agenda is a pattern that must end. If you do it again, you will be removed.
Adding vocal God Bless and Amens during a moment of silence clearly vocalized your opposition to the suspension of formal prayer at the meeting, but not in a respectful way or time. Do it again and you will be removed.
Personally, I don’t really care if we have the prayers or not, but the executive committee and I are respecting the wishes of those who are offended by the practice.
I will respect you when start showing some respect. If you want to change a policy, request it formally and it will be considered, but do not disrupt the meeting again with your antics. Maybe you should attend the classes at the Center for Self Governance on how to be more effective in your engagement with political officials.