Politics does make strange bedfellows

To the Editor:

Politics does indeed make strange bedfellows. The recent edition of The Smoky Mountain news said this: “Carla Miller, the chair of the Macon County Republican Party, admits there is a right-wing faction of the party, but said that faction does not represent the party as a whole. Miller specifically cited the Freedom Works (sic) group as being outside the mainstream of the local party.” Curiously, unless I am mistaken, Miller and her husband have attended at least the last three FreedomWorks meetings, and I’m sure they are welcome and encouraged to continue. Evidently, they felt attending so worthwhile they invited Commissioner Jimmy Tate to attend the most recent meeting, which he did.

FreedomWorks exists to provide conservative ideas in contrast to the Republican Party, which seems to have strayed from the reservation. I became a registered Republican in 1956 and have voted Republican in every election, national and local, since. Shortly after arriving in Macon County, I was asked to run the Republican Party Men’s Club, which I was pleased to do. Later, I was elected Chairman of the Macon County Republican Party.  Sometime after I served my term, the principles of the party changed to the extent that I felt compelled to start the Macon County Chapter of FreedomWorks.  

Further quoting the SMN, concerning the challenge of Gary Shields’ residency: “I see this as being the Freedom Works (sic) people retaliating against moderate Republicans and Democrats, saying you are not going to take away our one candidate.” This statement was made by Corey Duvall, Macon County Democrat chair. I am curious how a Republican lodging a challenge against a Republican involves the Democrats in any way. I guess the wisdom of a 22-year-old is beyond my understanding.

I like Gary Shields. We have been more or less friends since I came to Macon County 20 years ago. I hope we continue to be on good terms. I like him and respect him. We just differ in our politics. He describes himself as “purple,” I describe myself as “red.”

Don Swanson


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