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Wednesday, October 19, 2016

The Mike Crabtree Response to a Vile Letter Against Kevin W. Johnson


 

On October 18, the Kevin W. Johnson for Commissioner Campaign filed a letter with the Scioto County Board of Elections against Mike Crabtree, Scioto County Commissioner, stating,”The Crabtree re-election campaign is engage(d) in a ‘hit and run’ strategy of distributing various materials without attribution; that is, without any ‘Paid for by’ information.”

In an exclusive interview, the Daily Times reported that Mike Crabtree denied the letter came from him or from his campaign. The interview claimed Crabtree said “he would not condone the material because he’s not seen all of it.”

Wayne Allen, Times reporter, wrote in this interview that Crabtree stated ...

'They (material in question) did not come from me or my campaign. I’ve seen a few emails flying my way, urging me to denounce something I’ve not seen,' Crabtree said sitting in his courthouse office Tuesday morning.” (October 18 – my inclusion)
 
It was also reported “one person” on October 14 asked Crabtree to denounce the material ...

On October 15, one person asked Crabtree to denounce the material. His response to the request was, 'My campaign has not sent out any literature to date. We had nothing to do with the mailer. I only heard of it yesterday evening. It is unfortunate that you are labeling me or my supporters in this way.'”

In his defense, it is reported that Crabtree said his campaign would not be capable of financing such a mailing because he’s trying to gather enough money to fund a mailer of his own. Crabtree said ...

I’ve got friends and he’s got friends and sometimes your friends of someone else does things for their own motivation and sometimes they jump on the bandwagon. The only thing I can tell you, it’s been all I can do to raise money and put enough of my own money to get a few radio ads and I’ve got some flyers I’m going to try to send out. I doubt I can send them all out because I don’t have the money for that, none of my flyers have anything like that on them.” 
 
When asked about his response to the letter filed with the Scioto County Board of Elections it is reported that Crabtree said ...

It looks to me that he stepped on someone’s toes and they are getting even with him.”

(Wayne Allen. "Candidate files complaint with election board." 
Portsmouth Daily Times. October 18, 2016.)

It is virtually impossible without using forensic evidence to discover the source of the vile letter, and the potential damage to Kevin W. Johnson's campaign has already been done anyway. I have absolutely no idea who composed, sent, and condoned the material. I trust Mike Crabtree had nothing to do with the letter; however, I do not blame Kevin Johnson for being upset and filing his charges against the Crabtree campaign. I hope he finds the criminals who devised and carried out the scheme.

But, you see, there is a much bigger issue here than the race for county commissioner. It is the recognition of a cancer that exists in Scioto County. There is no question that the intent of the letter is to feed the vile prejudice of a segment of the population. Few would admit publicly to being infected by this bigotry, yet we all know it exists. The letter was composed to appeal to homophobes. It was sent out to stir the emotions of this hate group and to sway the vote by igniting those who condemn homosexuality.

I read the Daily Times response from Mike Crabtree. I believe it is sorely lacking. Please, allow me to explain.

This letter must be soundly, unequivocally condemned by all. There is no excuse for the unfounded, contemptible charges in the letter. Everyone should defend Mr. Johnson without making conditions or excuses for the criminal activity. Period. To say I cannot "condone" the material is weak, weak, weak.

If you reread Crabtree's comments as reported by the Times, Crabtree says as of October 18 … I’ve seen a few emails flying my way, urging me to denounce something I’ve not seen.”
  
I, for one, find it hard to believe Mike Crabtree had not even seen the letter at that point in time. The letter was the talk of the county and it had been for a few days, so for an opponent to say “I have not seen it” is suspect. In fact, he admits hearing about the letter as early as October 14.

My campaign has not sent out any literature to date. We had nothing to do with the mailer. I only heard of it yesterday evening. It is unfortunate that you are labeling me or my supporters in this way.”

When did Mike Crabtree read the letter? You decide. I believe he knew about it and likely read it by October 14. By the way, why is the person who asked him to denounce the letter not named? And, of course, why didn't he denounce it if he had read it?

As he addressed the content of the letter, Crabtree seemed to blame the deed on “your friends of someone else doing things for their own motivation.” What does this mean? I can only assume he believes “friends” may be behind the letter. I think this excuse is weak and, frankly, it amounts to falling miles short of the needed strong condemnation. Such “friends” and such “motivations” are depraved and homophobic.

And, the coup de grâce of transfer is the justification for the letter given by Mike Crabtree. He says …
It looks to me that he stepped on someone’s toes and they are getting even with him.” 

“Getting even”? There is nothing “even” about the letter, nothing that remotely implies equality. To me, this scapegoating is simply unacceptable and borders on inciting other such debased attacks on Kevin W. Johnson. Why doesn't Crabtee vow to join Johnson in finding the culprits who committed this criminal activity instead of essentially saying “he had it coming”?

I want to close by saying that I am using speculation in this blog entry. I thoroughly understand the limitations of such examination. I do not want to be a vehicle against Mike Crabtee and his campaign. I am sure he will have more to say about this letter.

However, I do want to be a part of the exposition of prejudice and hatred in my home county. I hope that the perpetrators of this offense are found and punished. Also, I hope this entry helps all of us to acknowledge the devastating effects of hate speech against the gay community. There is no excuse for such behavior.

As a heterosexual, I admit that long ago I had to face my own bias about sexuality and commit to necessary change. How easy it was then to speak out against something I didn't fully understand. I was wrong to judge, and now I realize that no moral or philosophical ground has a defense against love. I strongly believe now that it is important not only to talk the talk but also to walk the walk. We must respect and embrace our homosexual community. Love demands it. 

 

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