I was surprised this week when I opened up Facebook to discover that the 11 Alive Investigative Team had been back in Covington. My first thought was that they must’ve been looking into yet another tax increase, and a rather significant one at that. Unfortunately, my hunch was wrong. I decided to write this letter to you today to let my friends, neighbors, relatives, and the people of Newton County know that the controversial comment made by District 1 Commissioner John Douglas does not represent me, my generation, or the Republican Party that I envisioned when I became active in it. As one who strives to return the GOP to the “Big Tent” party of Reagan, I find Mr. Douglas’s comments disgusting and disrespectful. I understand him being angry and frustrated at the young woman’s comments, but his reaction crossed a line, and contrary to his recent remarks, his disturbing comments did nothing to “defend the Flag”. Yes, he has apologized, but more recent Facebook posts indicate that he was only sorry his remarks backfired on him (kind of like the “Angry Lynch Mob” letter he co-authored with Commissioner Maddox a few months ago). I believe Mr. Douglas would serve Newton County and the Republican Party well to resign.
I am also perturbed by the recent quote obtained by Covington News from our “Chair” (He by no means was properly elected into that role, but that’s a different story) of the Newton Republican Party, Bill Perugino. Mr. Perugino taking a position of "The party has no positon to make comments on actions of elected officials in office or to criticize them and support them" was a cop-out and shows a lack of leadership. Taking such a weak stance is not how we continue to grow the party and keep what little respect our county party still has in this community. It sends the message that he, as “elected” spokesman of the Republican Party could care less about, or maybe even agree with Mr. Douglas’s comments. His statement also shows how truly disconnected he is with reality.
If Mr. Perugino hasn’t noticed, voters are clamoring for leadership that will hold our elected officials accountable.
Republicans in this county are considering supporting a trustworthy and honest Democrat over the same old “Run-of-the-Mill candidates that our County Party keeps producing. As a Republican, I am ashamed of his comments as well. He had a chance to separate us from this disgrace, instead he’s left the door wide open for the Democrats to lump all of us together as racists. Just so this conversation can be constructive, I offer him an example of what should’ve been said in his statements to the media this week:
“Ladies and Gentlemen, as the Chairman of the Newton Republican Party, I offer my sincerest apologies to all of those that were offended by Commissioner Douglas’s comments earlier this week. Although I understand his anger at the woman that publicly desecrated the symbol of our great nation, I believe he crossed a line. Understanding that in order to be able to grow my party and prove why Conservative, Constitutional principles work, I cannot stand by and let this comment go, I have asked Mr. Douglas to resign. I encourage anyone interested in discussing how we as a community can advance the ideas of Freedom and Liberty in this community to attend our next Newton County Republican Party meeting. It will be held at the Covington Women’s Club (the building next to Amici’s) on the Covington Square this coming Monday, July 27 at 7 p.m. No matter what race, creed, color, or religion you identify with, I encourage you to join us. Together we can make Newton County great. Let’s talk.”