Mark Archibald.jpg

Mark Archibald is a Daily Sun columnist. His column, On the Mark, runs in the Friday edition of the Daily Sun.

Over the course of the last two years and some months, I’ve been challenged to change parties and admit I’m a Democrat. Each party has veered from its original course, I remain hopeful that Republican beliefs once true, will be again. I will not jump ship. I am unable to muddy the water or compromise my beliefs. Most importantly I remain loyal to the people and organizations which taught me to love and respect politics. Among those groups are the Rock Island County Republican Women.

Dr. Lois Frels was often described as the “Grand Dame of the Party.” More importantly, for decades she was a Republican force. Beyond her duties in Rock Island County, she served with distinction as Chair of the Illinois Federation of Republican Women, on multiple occasions. Frels had immense political power but used it judiciously. She was concerned with effective leadership, assisting candidates and mentoring the next generation of leaders more than advancing a personal agenda.

I admire her example and the dignity in which she conducted her personal and political affairs. She remains steadfast in her beliefs, but is decent to everyone. Qualities which are lacking in the current political environment.

Saturday, the Navarro County Republican Women’s Facebook Page shared a meme showing a Democratic politician placing a target on the back of a police officer. The caption read “I want you to know I’m behind you 100%”

Political cartoons are designed to illuminate issues. Along with other types of political speech, they advance discussion. This, however, wildly missed its mark and was incendiary. The notion that the meme was shared as sun glistened off the newly unveiled bronze which memorialized Corsicana’s Brent Thompson last weekend, was tone deaf. Thompson was among five officers who were killed in Dallas on July 7, 2016. The officers’ selfless sacrifice will not be forgotten by our community and shouldn’t have been cheapened by this political stunt.

Politicization of police and first responders is wrong. They risk their lives daily, for everyone, without regard for political affiliation. They should be revered, not used as pawns in a game of political tug-of-war.

Often uncomfortable, tough, and sometimes necessary, political incorrectness isn’t synonymous with patriotism. Republicans aren’t the only ones to engage in crude behavior, but whataboutism is pointless. To clean up politics, first, one must stop poisoning the well.

I hope this meme is removed and that members re-evaluate their social media policies.

The Republican Women of Navarro County is a formidable organization with many outstanding people. I’ve attended several of the group’s meetings and programs. I hope this incident is an aberration and not indicative of acceptable conduct within Republican Women’s Organizations across the state of Texas and the country.

Granted suffrage less than a century ago, women have become candidates in unprecedented numbers. They provide support in the field. Women organize, most of the time better than men. They are strong. They get things done. I know women are leaders, because I’ve seen it, and I hope to again.

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