Missouri GOP Leader Calls Ferguson Voter Registration Drives ‘Disgusting’

Apparently when you want to take part, maybe hold your local government accountable, some Republicans show you nothing but contempt.

In Ferguson, Missouri, after the killing of Michael Brown, a black unarmed teenager by a white police officer, you might expect at least a few black residents will register to vote, and set their sights on making a difference in the next local election. After all, the NY Times reports that black voter turnout in the last local election in Ferguson was 12%, even though the city of Ferguson is 60% black. And the majority of police officers and elected officials are white.

But when voter registration drives started in Ferguson in the past week, at least one local GOP leader was not happy. “If that’s not fanning the political flames, I don’t know what is,” said Missouri Republican executive director, Matt Wills. “I think it’s not only disgusting but completely inappropriate.”

It’s “disgusting” and “inappropriate” for black residents to register to vote after a black unarmed teenager was shot and killed by a white police officer? I’d love to know how this guy’s brain works. When would it be appropriate for them to register?

This should sound familiar, because it’s the same nonsensical reasoning we get from the gun rights people after a mass shooting. We are told that it’s too soon to talk about gun control legislation because it would be taking advantage of a situation. That’s exactly what Wills is saying here of voter registration.

But know this, there can be no more appropriate time for people to get involved in local government then during a critical event that involves their community. What does Wills think these protests are about anyway? They are about a problem of mistreatment and lack of representation. In a democracy, demonstration is one way we participate. Another way we participate is by voting.

Wills continued, “This is not just a tragedy for the African American community this is a tragedy for the Missouri community as well as the community of what we call America. Injecting race into this conversation and into this tragedy, not only is not helpful, but it doesn’t help a continued conversation of justice and peace.”

It’s nice that the white guy wants to make this tragic event about white people too. — Please, don’t forget about us white guys!

How is race not a part of this tragedy? It is such a white guy response to say race does not belong in the conversation in the wake of this event. And when he says we shouldn’t be “injecting race into this conversation,” it means he is injecting race into this conversation.

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  • They still haven’t realized how serious the problem is. The GOP ought to be thankful that people are attempting to put this kind of anger into political action instead of allowing it to fester and get worse. Typically the conservatives would prefer to suppress minority anger (while provoking white man’s outrage over lost entitlement.)

    • Any reasonable person would conclude that greater community and local government participation is one the positive things to emerge from this event. There is never a time when people registering to vote is a bad thing.