Initially, I was hesitant to respond to the letter written by Jay Craft of St. Croix in response to my editorial. My hesitation was due to the fact that I was forced to re-read my own editorial to make certain that J. Craft and I were, in fact, reading the same article. First of all, I do not know J. Craft, and am fairly certain J. Craft does not know me; however, I am compelled to respond given that fact I am amazed that J. Craft knows so much about me without ever meeting me. J. Craft labels me as a Socialist, a person that perceives himself of high rank, one that grazes at buffet tables with others left with sweaty lunchmeats. He goes to call me a fraud or an individual that lacks intellectual wherewithal. This person furthers states, that I lack self-respect and that I am one that intakes daily information from socialist sources. This individual accuses me of believing that my political party is headed by a proto-fascist (which I never stated).
This individual states that I believe the Congress and executive branch have individuals that are unscrupulous and stand for all the wrong things and that the local party is open to bribery. While I named a few individuals that are under suspicion, nowhere in the editorial could I find a statement, which professes that all Republicans lack moral fiber.
I do not know J. Craft, so I cannot state whether this person is a man or woman, Republican, Democrat, Socialist, or Libertarian. I cannot state that this person is anything, which is one of the major points of my response. Assigning labels to individuals, especially those that we do not know, serves no purpose. However, what I can emphatically state about J. Craft is that this person is wrong, and wrong on every level.
While J. Craft's response to my opinion was peppered throughout with million-dollar words, not once did this person agree or disagree with any of the points I made, nor did this individual state whether or not my statements about current allegations against the behaviors of some elected officials were true or false. Although, the source sited for the alleged behaviors were from the World Socialist Website, it was also clearly stated that this information was also found in other reputable news sources such as the Washington Post, New York Times, Newsweek, Wall Street Journal and others (something J. Craft conveniently overlooked). Does J. Craft have a label for these sources as well? Does the fact that the information was included on a site J. Craft finds unacceptable make it any less credible?
While J. Craft has no problem assigning labels, this individual seemed to be unable to read my editorial without reinterpreting many of my statement as a means to justify the vicious and character defaming remarks about me. Additionally, J. Craft neglected to make any mention of the fact that I stated that I was concerned that a few bad apples may be perceived as spoiling the whole barrel; thereby, implying that not the entire Republican Party is incapable of being honest or turning down bribes (nationally or locally). Further, if J. Craft knew anything about me, this individual would know that I have never been ashamed of being a Republican, and while I do not often agree with all of what some of them do (both the local and National level), what would be the value in walking away? Is J. Craft suggesting that it is better to be a spectator than a participant? If J. Craft knew me, this individual would know that I am not one to [not] tell the emperor that he wears no clothes.
It is my opinion that much of what is wrong with the world today is that we so often turn a blind eye to things when we know that the actions and behaviors are wrong. Being a part of an organization does not mean that I must be silent when things are done that do not agree with my personal values. Nor does it mean I must disengage from that group. Is J. Craft suggesting that we all bury our heads in the sand? Or is he suggesting I talk my marbles and go home because the group of which I am a part and I do not always see eye-to-eye?
To suggest that we should go along to get along has never brought about meaningful change. To bring about any change we cannot shy way from our obligations to challenge the thinking and behaviors of those when they are inconsistent with the ideology for which we first decided to become a part of the group in the first place. Groups lose their way, and I would be less than a responsible individual if I did not speak out.
If J. Craft knew me, this person would not suggest that I was insincere because I challenge the local leadership; but rather this person would know that what I want from the leadership is action and to lead. Demanding action has nothing to do with freely laboring under an abomination but rather is a demonstration of an obligation to confront the Party's departure from those value that represent the ideology of the party of which I am a part. J. Craft figures me to be a fellow that chats up with individuals and attends open bar cocktail parties to gobble up all the food; however, again if J. Craft knew me, this individual would have known that I did not attend numerous cocktail parties (only one at the Republican Convention); nor do I make it a habit to chat up individuals. J. Craft challenges my sincerity about reform by stating I illuminate ills and do not prescribe corrective action. However, J. Craft is equally guilty of this, as J. Craft spends a good deal of time in the article attacking me personally and assigning political labels.
This individual rarely speaks to the issues at hand. J. Craft does not indicate, whether or not they are a registered voter in the territory. Given the fact this individual is "not a registered member of any party" in the Virgin Islands (STT/STJ District or STX District) is a blatant display of hypocrisy. J. Craft questions my allegiance; yet, I question this individual's allegiance. Did my editorial inspire this individual because they are a loyal supporter to the president, Republican in Congress, or the local GOP? Clearly, this individual hold no apparent allegiance to the people of the Virgin Islands as nowhere in the response did I see a discussion about the issues that are facing the Territory. J. Craft should understand that being an unregisted voter (in the Virgin Islands) equates to a lack of willingness, on the part of that individual, to make a difference within the community of which they are a part.
Contrary to J. Craft's opinion, being an active member of any group whether Democrat, Republican, Socialist, or otherwise, is much better than being one that rants and raves about what label we should be attached, rather than being involved and attempting to affect positive change. If J. Craft truly knew me he would know that while I make no secret of my disappointment with our local Republican leadership; neither this individual, nor can others, question my sincerity in trying to better the lives of those that live in the Virgin Islands – no matter what their political label. J. Craft attempts to come across as someone that is deeply concerned about why I am a Republican, yet as an unregistered voter (in the Virgin Island) J. Craft misrepresents his or herself by the transparent attempt to protect the Republican Party.
To be in the territory to only enjoy the sea, sun, and sand, in my opinion it implies that the individual's heart is somewhere else. The fact is J. Craft does not know me.
Editor's note: We welcome and encourage readers to keep the dialogue going by responding to Source commentary. Letters should be e-mailed with name and place of residence to [email protected].