Randy Brogdon and his Bully Pulpit

designTo the OKGOP party – more specifically to Chair Randy Brogdon and all those sanctimonious tea party men and women who are supporting Brogdon– you disgust us. In the words of Coach Mike Gundy – you make us want to puke.

For porch dwellers who have no idea what we are talking about, let us bring you up to speed.  You see, Chairman Brogdon has hired a man to work at the highest level of the Oklahoma Republican Party (TC Ryan) who, according to many news outlets (McCarville Report among one of them) pled guilty in 2012 to domestic violence assault and battery in the presence of a minor and interference with an emergency telephone call — both misdemeanor counts.

So who is this TC Ryan?  Tulsa Today reports:

Ryan has long been active in the local Ron Paul, Libertarian, T-Party, Tulsa 9/12 and Republican groups.  He has worked as a paid consultant in several races and was Brogdon’s campaign ‘volunteer companion’ during his failed race for the U.S. Senate.  In short, Ryan supports candidates representing the extreme right wing-tip of the Oklahoma Republican Party — about 4 percent of registered Oklahoma Republican voters.  Ryan was also elected for one term as the Republican State Committeeman from Tulsa County, but was rejected for service at the last Tulsa County Convention.  Failure at the ballot box does not moderate radical views, but rather inspires some to conspiracy fantasies, party process disruptions and insane rants by zealots pretending to be pundits.”

A group of female state senators (Sen. A.J. Griffin, Sen. Kim David and Sen. Stephanie Bice) have issued a joint statement condemning the employment of TC Ryan:

  • “The Oklahoma Republican Party should take the strongest stand possible against domestic violence and issues concerning violence against women,” said Griffin.  “It is very difficult for the Party to have any credibility on this issue when people in positions of power and privilege within its ranks have recently pled guilty in connection to a crime of this nature.  My hope is that our Party chairman makes the right decision and removes T.C. Ryan from employment with the State Party.”

 

  • Senator David is quoted as saying “it is important that the Republican Party project an attitude of caring and respect towards victims of abuse, but also have constructive solutions.”

 

  • Senator Bice is also calling for the termination of Ryan’s employment with the Republican Party:  “While we certainly believe in redemption and reconciliation, we also believe there are consequences to actions. This is not the time or place for a period of learning and education.  This is about the leadership of our Party, and its responsibility to help educate, communicate and construct others.  For the good of our Party we believe Ryan should resign permanently.”

 

  • The Republican Senate Caucus issued its own statement declaring that “There is no place in our society for domestic abuse and violence against women.  Our party needs to send the right message to women, and take a strong stand on this issue.  These are serious crimes that affect thousands of Oklahomans every years.  This body has worked hard to establish penalties for such crimes, and we want the actions of our party to be reflective of our attitude regarding the serious nature of domestic abuse as a problem in Oklahoma.  Crimes such as this cannot be trivialized or explained away.  Domestic abuse tears apart families and leaves lasting emotional scars.  Promotion of the family has always been a priority for our party, and we will continue advancing policies designed to strengthen the family and protect victims of domestic violence.  We look forward to working with party leadership to promote pro-family policy.”

 

  • Senator David Holt has also expressed his outrage at the hiring of Ryan and says he has zero tolerance for domestic violence in any form.  He also has called for Ryan to resign.

 

  • Senator Brian Crain has issued a statement saying “As a husband and a father of two daughters, I am foundationally and unequivocally opposed and repulsed by domestic violence.  With such a position, I cannot support the decision of an organization that would place someone who admits to having committed such vile actions in a position of leadership.  I believe that all Oklahomans, and Oklahoma Republicans in specific also disdain domestic violence, as such, the actions of the Oklahoma Republican Party should reflect these shared values, of which domestic violence is not a Republican principle or value.”

 

  • Representative Lisa Billy said: “That’s not the face of my party and that’s not how I want it represented.”

 

  • Did we forget to mention?  The Oklahoma Republican Women have also called on Ryan to be removed as an employee of the Party.

Boy howdy, a good old Oklahoma country boy like Randy Brogdon should “get” this smack down, right?  We are pretty good at cipherin’ here in Oklahoma.

Heck, no. Chairman Brogdon has not backed down one iota.  Instead, he has doubled down on the hiring of Ryan, calling out the critics as “bigots” –uncaring Christians who don’t believe in forgiveness and who are bullies because they are calling for his resignation:

This guy is a tremendous individual that’s been dragged through the mud by Republicans and I resent it,” the chairman continued.  “Drag me through the mud, not T.C. He doesn’t deserve this.  He’s paid his debt to society. Let’s move on.”

“The Republican Party is the Party of hope and second chances,” Brodgon said in a statement Wednesday. “We have many members from diverse backgrounds, some with a sorted (sic) past who have found a home in the GOP, as a volunteer, in an appointed position, or as an elected official.”

 

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The tea party is standing behind both their men — Brogdon and T.C.

  • Newly elected representative Chuck Strohm (strong tea) applauded the hiring of TC Ryan in a tweet: “Congratulations to TC Ryan our new GOP Executive Director – Chairman Randy Brogdon, you made an excellent choice.”

 

  • Ronda Vuillemont-Smith (Tulsa 9.12 –strong tea) flat out calls it a “witch hunt,” says Ryan is the victim and is being bullied, and calls the elected officials calling for his resignation a “mob mentality” of one faction of the party.  Ms. Vuillemont-Smith says Mr. Ryan is a “good and honorable man, a man of his word.”

 

  • Jenni White (strong tea) writes on her facebook page that “The issue here is SOUR GRAPES. The issue here is that Randy Brogdon won the chairmanship of the GOP because the GRASSROOTS voted him in at our convention and now the establishment is dead set on running him down and drumming him out any way the can…. This is the grassroots VS the establishment.  Period.  Get ready to RUMBLE!”

Somehow, Brogdon and his tea party supporters have managed to turn TC Ryan into the victim. They would have us believe that this is all about our inability to forgive. The national spotlight is now shining bright on the in-fighting in the Republican party here in Oklahoma.  Maybe this is about control.  Maybe this is about power. But if it is, strong tea needs to go. Tea party support of a confessed domestic abuser just because he has their same right wing tip beliefs is a party that doesn’t express this great State’s values.

Noticeably silent is our female Governor.

Noticeably silent are the members of the House of Representatives (absent one lone female voice of reason).

The porch is ashamed.

 

Domestic Violence is a Serious Crime

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Let’s talk about domestic violence for a moment.  Real talk – based on real numbers

Violence by an Intimate Partner

More than 1 in 3 women (35.6%) and more than 1 in 4 men (28.5%) in the United States have experienced rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner in their lifetime.

Among victims of intimate partner violence, more than 1 in 3 women experienced multiple forms of rape, stalking, or physical violence; 92.1% of male victims experienced physical violence alone, and 6.3% experienced physical violence and stalking.

Nearly 1 in 10 women in the United States (9.4%) has been raped by an intimate partner in her lifetime, and an estimated 16.9% of women and 8.0% of men have experienced sexual violence other than rape by an intimate partner at some point in their lifetime.

About 1 in 4 women (24.3%) and 1 in 7 men (13.8%) have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner (e.g., hit with a fist or something hard, beaten, slammed against something) at some point in their lifetime.

An estimated 10.7% of women and 2.1% of men have been stalked by an intimate partner during their lifetime.

Nearly half of all women and men in the United States have experienced psychological aggression by an intimate partner in their lifetime (48.4% and 48.8%, respectively).

Most female and male victims of rape, physical violence, and/or stalking by an intimate partner (69% of female victims; 53% of male victims) experienced some form of intimate partner violence for the first time before 25 years of age.

Prevalence of Rape, Physical Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner among Women

Table 7.4  Lifetime Prevalence of Rape, Physical Violence, and/or Stalking by an Intimate Partner by State of Residence — U.S.Women, NISVS 2010 (CDC)

Weighted %

35.6

Estimated Number of Victims1

United States Total

42,420,000


Oklahoma

 

49.1

697,000

TC Ryan’s Alleged Victim

Let’s re-focus this discussion back to where it should belong — with the alleged victim of the domestic abuser TC RyanTulsa Today reported that a woman alleging to be the victim of the abuse by Ryan posted a comment to their article detailing the event and the impact it left on her.  The porch has not way to verify whether this person is really the victim of Ryan, but here is the comment as reported by Tulsa Today:

“I suffered the abuse of the hands of this man his acts of terror against me and my 5-year old son.while he has issued a statement to the public he has never shown remorse or attempted to pay damages, restitution for the Physicians bills that landed me in the hospital etc.this is not the type of person we need in GOP leadership. to come forward and prosecute    this violent man was difficult for me, but what is more difficult is that he should have   had more severe charges and punishment issued against him. In my opinion his horrific acts were far more than misdemeanors. I would like to encourage the public to continue to stand up against domestic violence. I would b more than happy to speak out against these atrocities that have been greatly trivialized.”

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The statistics from the CDC say it all.   Oklahoma’s incidence of domestic violence is much higher than the national average. Just last week Oklahoma Watch reported that “PTSD is the second most common mental illness among incarcerated women, in Oklahoma, with about one in five showing symptoms, or five times the rate for men. More than half of female victims of rape reported that at least one perpetrator was a current or former intimate partner, according to a 2010 national sexual violence survey by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention…A lot of Women in Recovery participants have very complex trauma histories, Hinther said. They’re suffering from the effects of not just one traumatic event, but from a series of them, and that can play out over a lifetime.”

Domestic violence in the presence of young children is particularly harmful.  The ACE Study (Adverse Childhood Experiences) measured the effects of childhood trauma on adults.  One of the 10 ACE’s included in the study was watching your mother being physically abused.

Why are ACEs significant?

 

 

1. The ACE Study revealed five main discoveries:

  •  ACEs are common…nearly two-thirds (64%) of adults have at least one.
  •  They cause adult onset of chronic disease, such as cancer and heart disease, as well as mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence
  • ACEs don’t occur alone….if you have one, there’s an 87% chance that you have two or more.
  • The more ACEs you have, the greater the risk for chronic disease, mental illness, violence and being a victim of violence. People have an ACE score of 0 to 10. Each type of trauma counts as one, no matter how many times it occurs. You can think of an ACE score as a cholesterol score for childhood trauma. For example, people with an ACE score of 4 are twice as likely to be smokers and seven times more likely to be alcoholic. Having an ACE score of 4 increases the risk of emphysema or chronic bronchitis by nearly 400 percent, and suicide by 1200 percent. People with high ACE scores are more likely to be violent, to have more marriages, more broken bones, more drug prescriptions, more depression, and more autoimmune diseases. People with an ACE score of 6 or higher are at risk of their lifespan being shortened by 20 years.
  • ACEs are responsible for a big chunk of workplace absenteeism, and for costs in health care, emergency response, mental health and criminal justice.  So, the fifth finding from the ACE Study is that childhood adversity contributes to most of our major chronic health, mental health, economic health and social health issues.

What’s particularly startling is that the 17,000 ACE Study participants were mostly white, middle- and upper-middle class, college-educated, and all had jobs and great health care (they were all members of Kaiser Permanente).

What Does This Have to Do With Randy Brogdon?

What does this have to do with Chairman Randy Brogdon?

Everything.

The porch tips its Roundhouse cap to Senators Griffin, David, Bice, Holt and Crain, and to Rep. Billy, the sole member of the House that we have been able to verify has come out against the Brogdon/Ryan tryst– To The Republican Senate Caucus and to the Republican Women, the porch bows in deep respect.

And let’s be clear on forgiveness. We are tired of hearing how we all need to forgive this man.  Forgiveness belongs to his victim. Christianity does not teach that forgiveness also includes no consequences for serious violent behavior. Otherwise we would all allow murderers and rapists to be free from the burdens of punishment if they simply say “I’m sorry.” It doesn’t work that way.

If this is about tea party politics as the tea party claims, then the tea party’s ethics are situational at best.  As long as the person holds the same ideals as the tea party, they have said they are willing to overlook a crime so abhorrent that no party official should ever have been convicted of.

What does this have to do with Chairman Randy Brogdon?

As the head of the Republican Party in Oklahoma he should understand and care about domestic violence and the havoc it wreaks upon women and children in our State.  He should know that Oklahoma’s rate of domestic violence is higher than the national average.  He should care about the victims of domestic violence as much as he cares about the abuser.

He should care about this State enough to put its principles and values ahead of his own personal loyalty and blind allegiance to a friend.

Quite frankly Chairman Brogdon, you have embarrassed this State and the Party.

TC Ryan…..

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