“Why is she here?”

Last night was the endorsement vote for the 8th Congressional District seat in Ohio to replace our outgoing Congressman, Speaker John Boehner. There was no endorsement by the Butler County Republican Party Central Committee, which is expected when you have so many good candidates.  I have gotten a chance to speak to a few of the candidates, there are a few differences, but overall they are good men.

AnnBecker

Ann Becker

I went to the endorsement meeting to continue learning about the candidates and to hear the questions that the members of Central Committee had for them and how they would respond. All of these men are conservatives.  Finding differences in their philosophy and what they bring to the table will be tough, so I wanted to quote their answers with accuracy.  Being taken out of context or being misquoted is not okay with me, I wanted to give the candidates the respect they deserved.

I took my new video camera rig, which I was excited to use.  A video, seeing a candidate, how they speak, their body language tells a lot about the person.  I thought it would be valuable to get to know the candidates better.

After I had set up the rig, I was asked by the Chairman of the Butler County Republican Party, Todd Hall, to take it down. I was prepared for this request.  I had never seen a video done in a meeting before and wasn’t sure if it was permitted, so I took it down, disappointed, but without a fuss.  Mr. Hall cited the by-law that states it was not a meeting open to the general public…even though I was surrounded by 30 other people in the room that didn’t need to be there to vote.

I was sitting at the table with another member of the media and noticed he had his phone recorder on – I thought, that would work.  I can, at least, relisten if I want to make sure I get a quote right.  I have terrible hearing.  I read lips half of the time to catch what people are saying.  I knew writing down everything would be near impossible to get proper quotes because I couldn’t watch lips and write at the same time.

I guess someone was looking over my shoulder and saw that I turned on the recorder from my phone and told the Butler County GOP Chairman, Todd Hall.  Like a child, someone told on me…

Mr. Hall made the decision to rip me a new one – in front of friends, members of the media, staff members and family of the candidates – he decided to dress me down.  He told me I couldn’t record and forced me to show him my phone, or I would be made to leave the building.

There were other members of the media there, recording, taking pictures, writing.  Three different people offered me their recordings of the meeting after it was over.

This bothered me on three levels. One, the bullying – if you are going to check my phone, you damn well better go around and check everyone’s phone.  I should not be singled out for the abuse.

Second, the silencing of voices. I write.  I share. I coordinate.  Shutting me down and treating me like a piece of trash you want to throw out is an example of why the Republican Party is dying.  The left loves their media outlets, their bloggers, their posters, their connectors.  They invite them in.  They give them information.  That is why they win; they have people spreading their message.  Today, instead of writing about the amazing candidates that spoke, I am writing about how the GOP treats people badly.  It’s a wasted opportunity and disastrous politics.

Third, I am a Republican.  I have been a Republican since I was five years old.  Since the day Ronald Reagan was shot.  I am from Toledo, and we watched TV out of Winsor.  Canadian TV broke into the show I was watching and told us about the attempt on President Reagan’s life.  I went and told mom.  She flipped the channel around to the big three networks. They had nothing.  An hour passed.  Mom and I prayed for President Reagan.  Kept checking.  Finally, Tom Brokaw came on NBC and told the American people about President Reagan.

In my five-year-old mind, for a whole hour my mom and I were the only American’s praying for President Reagan.  After that, I was his.  Everything Reagan said, I listened.  I grew up in the 80’s with Reagan in my heart and my head.

As the years have gone on, I have realized that the Republican Party has drifted away from what Reagan taught me being a Republican meant.

It hurts every time I go to one of the GOP meetings and people look at me like I am the enemy. I am not the enemy.  I am a Republican. I will always be a Republican.  A Republican stands for less spending, less government and the Constitution.  That is what I want my party to stand for with every decision and every candidate.

A party is made up of those who show up, and I am going to continue to show up, to make my party better.