NC Democrats, hypocrisy and Ben Chavis

Published February 14, 2014

By Cash Michaels

by Cash Michaels, The Carolinian and NC SPIN panelist, February 13, 2014.

A tragedy took place this week, and it deserves insight, reflection and perspective.

Earlier this week it was announced that Randolph Voller, the chairman of what is clearly a divided NC Democratic Party which has been at war with itself since he took over the reins over a year ago, had fired the party’s executive director, Robert Dempsey.

No official reason was given, though subsequent reports suggest Voller wasn’t pleased with the job Dempsey was doing. It should be noted that none of our esteemed members of the major local media have bothered to look into the possible reasons, and never, apparently, asked any of their sources within the party about why Dempsey had to go.

So when word leaked about the firing, because little justification was given publicly, rand-and-file Democrats assumed it was unjustified.

Almost immediately, however, because of tweets from the Rev. Dr. Benjamin Chavis, and Chairman Voller over the weekend, by Monday it was determined that Dr. Chavis would be replacing Mr. Dempsey as party executive director. A press conference at NC Democratic Party (NCDP) headquarters was scheduled for Wednesday to make the official announcement.

That gave powerful forces in the moderate and conservative wings of the NCDP enough time to mount an effective counteroffensive, and devise a plot to smear Dr. Chavis with his past association with the Nation of Islam; with false allegations of his being anti-Semitic (meaning he hated Jews because of the NOI association); and also smearing Chavis with past allegations of sexual harassment from his days as executive director of the NAACP.

Yes, there were allegations, and yes, there was a court settlement. But no, nowhere in those court papers do you find an admission of guilt on the part of Chavis. And, in fact, he even says today that the allegations were false when they were made 20 years ago.

Chavis’ denial was never reported in any of the scandal-hungry local media when the controversy began.

By Tuesday, the controversy was full flame. Moderate/conservative Democrats were now using social media to further tar and feather Ben Chavis for allegations dating back 20 years. Local media were busy digging up, or being handed old articles and accusations to use to further build a case against Chavis being executive director. Jewish Democrats were declaring Chavis anti-Semitic and unfit – end of story. Emails from members of the Democratic Women of NC were referring to the negative articles about the man as justification for opposing Chavis. Party elders deliberately referred to Chavis as “Muhammad,” his former Muslim surname, as if to suggest he was still a member of the Nation of Islam, when in fact he had left the NOI almost ten years ago.

And Gary Pearce, who was once press secretary to Gov. Jim Hunt in the late 1970’s when Hunt refused to pardon Ben Chavis when he was in prison for a crime he didn’t commit during the Wilmington Ten case, got on his blog and called Rev. Chavis “…the most divisive, controversial figure” Chairman Voller could find to be executive director.

By the time Ben Chavis got off the plane in Raleigh Tuesday afternoon, he was facing a well-organized NC Democratic Party opposition that Chairman Voller had absolutely no control over, which was a huge mistake and gross miscalculation.

Virtually no one in the media, or as part of the NCDP, thought to look to see what Chavis had been doing for the past 20 years, or 10 years, or five year, or even within the past year, to balance the record.

Virtually no one in the media, or in the NCDP, thought to at least give Rev. Chavis the respect of due process…a chance to at least answer his critics and the many charges directly, before anyone voted on anything.

Virtually no one thought to do that, except anchor Pam Saulsby with WNCN-TV News. She caught up with Rev. Chavis soon after he arrived, and taped a sitdown interview with him, putting the tough questions to him, and giving him a chance to answer his critics. Of all of the so-called “journalists” this week, Pam Saulsby was the only true journalist to do her job – giving a controversial figure a fair opportunity to answer his critics…truly giving both sides of the story.

Chavis told Saulsby how he was no longer a member of the Nation of Islam, having left the group many years ago. He said that he was not guilty of sexual harassment allegations, and that sometimes, people target high profile leaders with those charges, knowing that that places then in untenable situations.

Saulsby gave Chavis some of the due process he deserved, but it was too late. By the time the interview aired, the Executive Council of the NC Democratic Party, in a raucous session, had already voted by teleconference to appoint an interim executive director for thirty days.

Chairman Voller, at the request of Ben Chavis, did not submit Chavis’ name given the uproar. Voller says he may still do so later, but that’s extremely doubtful.

NC Democratic Party members are now slapping themselves on the back fro keeping that “no good Chavis-Muhammad-sexual-harasser-fella from becoming executive director. After all, we don’t need a racist and sexual harasser running our party.”

Well, members of the NC Democratic Party, turn your radios up so I can give you some truth right about now. First of all, I am not pleased with the sloppy, ill-advised way Chairman Randolph Voller handled this whole affair. It was Mickey Mouse and unprofessional from the word go, and if given the opportunity, I’ll tell him that to his face, because in the interim, a good man and courageous leader was wounded and lynched this week… a man who has tremendous courage and dignity, and has a solid record of bring people, and especially young people of all stripes and backgrounds together, who could truly help what can only be described as a crippled NCDP so weak and directionless that long before Randolph Voller took over as chairman, it literally handed the Republicans control of this state for at least the next six years because its Democratic past Democratic speaker of the House and one of his lieutenants were convicted of corruption and sent to prison; and because its past chairman allegedly paid hush money to a former staffer who had been allegedly sexually harassed by the then party executive director.

All of this happened in just the past five years, and no Democrat enjoys having that nonsense thrown back in their face without a fair hearing, but those same Democrats were more than willing to convict a man for allegations dating back 20 years ago, without a fair hearing…without due process. Somehow, that doesn’t make sense.

Oh, and racism…Ben Chavis is (supposedly) an anti-Semite because of his past association with the Nation of Islam in the 1990’s? I might remind the NCDP that back in 2006, you were forced to apologize to the African-American community of this great state for the fact that in 1898, white supremacist leaders of your party decided Democrats could no longer tolerate black economic and political progress, and, employing the Ku Klux Klan, ravaged the mostly black city of Wilmington, NC in November 1898, shooting black people on the streets, chasing black businesspeople from their homes and properties at gunpoint, and taking over the city government by force, ushering in the era tat became known as Jim Crow.

Why is Cash Michaels bringing all that up? The 1898 massacre was a long time ago. Well so was Ben Chavis’ membership in the Nation of Islam, if there was anything wrong with it, as well as those sexual harassment charges. After all, I don’t recall NOI members…I repeat…NOI members…on orders from NOI leader Min. Louis Farrakhan, EVER going on a murderous rampage of white people.

But I do remember that it was only within the past one or two years that the NCDP finally, after many, many decades, changed the name of its annual big fundraising dinner named after two white supremacist Democratic governors – Zebulon B. Vance, a well-known slaveholder; and Charles Brantley Aycock, a man who, according to the News and Observer, was responsible in part for “…widespread violence, voter intimidation, voter fraud…and even the [overthrow] of Wilmington in 1898.”

And yet, isn’t it peculiar that despite the racist histories of both men, they not only have statues on the grounds of our State Capitol, but also had a major Democratic fundraising dinner named after them until recently, when someone in the Democratic Party woke up and said ‘Heck no’? Vance and Aycock even have their likenesses up in the US Capitol.

Fancy that!

And yet, a Rev. Ben Chavis can’t even get a fair hearing today…something you’d expect in the simplest of job interviews…about who he is TODAY, and what he has done TODAY, to bring people together TODAY!

The same way Rev. William Barber of the NCNAACP is bringing people together with his Moral Monday movement outside of the NCDP – and make no mistake, the NCDP is in such poor shape, it literally needs Rev. Barber, even though he can’t have anything to do with it – Ben Chavis has the skills to bring people together inside the NCDP. A man of over 50 years of civil rights experience, who led his first civil rights demonstration in his hometown of Oxford, NC at the age of 12.

At age 23, Ben was in Wilmington working with the black student boycott of the racist New Hanover County Public School System then.

In 1995 when he was with the Nation of Islam, Ben convened the historic Million Man March. When he left the NOI years later, Chavis partnered with music legend Russell Simmons to create the Hip Hop Action Network, working with young people in the music business.

He travels this nation, visiting college campuses, and speaking with students. Chavis has his own online educational company working with historically black colleges and universities. He’s also involved in diamond mining in Africa, and an energy company.

And yet, through all of that, Ben Chavis was willing to come back home to North Carolina, and help the NCDP take back the state from Republican control.

You see, and think about this…Democrats don’t necessarily win when blacks vote. Democrats win when blacks that don’t normally vote, do. That was the strategy employed by the Obama campaign in 2008 – to excite the base beyond normal capacity. In 2012, President Obama didn’t lose North Carolina because black voters failed him. Blacks came out in even stronger numbers than in 2008. Obama lost North Carolina by 100,000 votes because Democratic white voters failed to keep their end of the bargain.

So the NCDP would have a job on its hands during this fall’s midterms even if none of this Chavis controversy ever happened. Doing what they did to Rev. Chavis clearly doesn’t help, and without Barack Obama’s name on the ballot the only hope the NCDP has now is Rev. Barber’s Moral Monday movement, and that hasn’t proven it can deliver votes yet because it just started last spring.

So Democrats in this state need someone exciting and dynamic to excite the base beyond Moral Monday. Someone who could fine-tune the NC Democratic message.

Too bad they told Rev. Chavis to get lost, and tried to destroy his reputation in the process.

So who do you have now, NC Democrats? You hate your chairman, the big money bags have stopped giving cash to the party, your reputation has been in shambles for at least the past five years, you’ve lost control of the Governor’s Mansion an the General Assembly with no real hope of getting it back, you’re fighting each other more than you’re fighting Republicans, you’ve now lynch mobbed a man without due process… and you wonder why more and more people are disgusted with both you and the Republicans, and changing their political party registration to NO political party registration?

Well, I’m joining them!

My core value system is freedom, justice, equality and truth. Anything or anyone I’m associated with has to reflect some, if not most of those core values. And when I find out, without question, that those values are not reflected in my association, I cut ties, because I will not cast a blind eye to hypocrisy.

I was convinced this week that the way the NC Democratic Party mistreated Rev. Benjamin Chavis, is the way it would treat me if it found cause – false allegations with no due process, despite its own very checkered history of racism, sexual harassment and official corruption…much of it just in the past five years.

I am better than that, and so is Rev. Chavis. Yes, I may still vote for those Democratic candidates who I believe are worthy of my vote. And those I don’t, I won’t.

The question is, if the NC Democratic Party continues with this clown show and lynch mob party, then how many others are you going to send away from your ranks?

And if any of what I’ve just said you think was wrong or unfair…well, now you know how Ben Chavis feels.

February 14, 2014 at 10:59 am
Mike Armstrong says:

I'm glad to see Michaels becoming an unaffiliated voter but I am puzzled as to who those "conservative democrats" are.

When you realize the welfare-state agenda of the NCDP, Mr Chavis would fit right in as party director. All the opposition must have been for reasons not yet mentioned.

February 14, 2014 at 11:19 am
Norm Kelly says:

I know nothing about Cash. Don't know if he's a lib in the media or if he's a conservative outside the media. (assumption made that if he's in the media he is automatically a lib. sorry but that's the way it is, so it's a valid assumption.)

'plot to smear Dr. Chavis with his past association'. When the target of the smear campaign is a lib, the past is irrelevant. When the target of the smear campaign is a lib, notice that it's called a smear campaign and not simply trying to understand this persons history to attempt to understand this persons future actions. It appears Mr. Chavis was associated at some point in his past with the Nation of Islam. What do we know about the nation? They are a decidedly anti-Semitic organization. They stand for the total destruction of Israel and the elimination of the Jewish people. This is not conjecture. This is fact. So when Mr. Chavis says that he is no longer associated with NOI, this implies that he once was and at the time believed in the same things as NOI. If Mr. Chavis didn't believe the same as NOI, then why did he belong? This is not smearing Mr. Chavis. This is not digging up trash to prevent him from taking a position of considerable power. This is wondering what his stance is on anti-Semitism now, what his stance is on the Nation of Islam and if he continues to believe in the same things as NOI. Valid questions. Unless of course the person in question is a lib.

'smearing Chavis with past allegations of sexual harassment'. Once again, the lib double standard raises it's god-awful-ugly head. When there's simply an allegation of sexual harassment about a conservative, the conclusion is AUTOMATIC amongst media/lib types that the conservative is disqualified and quilty. If there was an out of court settlement, where the details are sealed by court order, the assumption is made among libs/media types that this is an automatic admission of guilt. There is no wondering or statement about innocence. There is simply statement of fact about guilt. The Democrat party nationwide mobilizes to make sure even people in the far reaches of the deserts of Alaska know without doubt that this conservative IS GUILTY of a war on women, has no respect for women, and can't be trusted in ANY position of authority. Using the word 'smearing' to describe Mr. Chavis's prior record of sexual harassment is inappropriate and appears to be less than well veiled attempts to discredit people who wonder about the ability of Mr. Chavis to properly serve the Demoncrat party. If I am supposed to believe that allegations against a conservative are true simply because they are levied, then why am I supposed to ignore allegations against a lib even after the settlement, which is probably an admission of guilt. Since Mr. Chavis says the allegations are false, and he's black, and he's a lib, then of course I believe he is 100% innocent. Just remember the next time an allegation of ANY kind is brought against a conservative, the libs and media-types will print endless stories/editorials about the innocence of said conservative. Let's all hold our breath waiting for this miracle to happen!

Several times the phrase 'Moderate/conservative Democrats' appears. Where are these people? How many of these ghosts does the editorial writer believe exist? Can any be found in Raleigh? Are there any of these non-existent people located in Washington? It would be nice if the editorial writer were to organize an event to draw all these types out of the closet, the shadows. If Nancy is considered a moderate, I can't imagine what a liberal DemocRAT looks like. Is Harry considered moderate? Is Barack considered moderate? How about K? Is she a moderate? By who's definition of moderate? If we use someone like Nancy, Harry, K, Hillary, or Barack as the barometer of what a moderate Demon is, then there is no such thing as a socialist Demon. But the facts show that these people are socialist DemocRATs, not moderate. So by who's definition do we claim there are moderate Demons anywhere? When you are as far left as some media types are, then people like K might actually appear further to the center than you are and therefore they appear moderate. But to conservatives these people actually are socialists. People who believe in 'single payer medical systems' are not moderates they are socialists. People who believe that there are groups of people who should be dependent on the central planners are NOT moderate, they are socialists. People like Nancy, Harry, Hillary, Barack and K fall way outside the description of moderate and land squarely and solidly in the category of 'socialists'.

The Reverend buffet slayer Barber is bringing people together? Exactly how does referring to a black man as a stupid puppet bring people together? What the buffet slayer Barber is doing doesn't even come close to bringing people together. What Barber is doing is proving, without doubt, that the NAACP does NOT represent black people. Mr. Barber is PROVING, with no room for doubt, that the NAACP should be renamed to the NAALCP because unless you are a LIBERAL through-and-through, the NAACP stands firmly, decidedly AGAINST you. If you DARE step off the reservation of lib ideas/philosophy, then you are lynched. No black person is allowed to have their own thoughts about politics. Either you are a lib or you are not a black person. This is NOT my opinion. This is the stated position of the NC NAACP. This is not open for interpretation. This is fact. Which is why it slips right past every lib in the state. Libs don't recognize facts. Facts simply irritate libs, so they ignore them, claiming they do not exist. However, the other fact that libs ignore is that people have the ability to read on their own, have the ability to find information on their own, and are not dependent on people like Cash to garner mis-information. (btw: 'misinformation' is lib speak for 'telling a lie'. since i don't believe in political correctness or lib-speak, i don't like the word 'misinformation', cuz it's usually not it's usually an outright lie.) Thinking and reading people know that the NAACP always stands FOR Demons and NEVER stands for conservatives. The NAACP always support a lib or is completely silent. Barber is simply the incompetent mouth piece of the NC chapter of the NAALCP. They have been, and continue to prove, they are the NAALCP and should always be referred to that way from now on. The Moral Monday group that Barber started is also proving that Moral should be dropped from their name, but their buddies in the media will make sure that doesn't happen either.

What conclusion can be drawn from Cash's editorial? He's a lib. He's a lib with a pen. He's a lib with a pen who is not afraid to prove he's a lib first, and a journalist only when it fits his lib agenda.

Do I care if Chavis becomes associated with the NCDP? Nope. Couldn't care any less. But it would be fun to have such a controversial person leading the lib party of NC. Then the stories about the great plans of the lib party would lead with 'the anti-semitic, sexual harasser Chavis, today said...'.

February 14, 2014 at 12:38 pm
bobby poon says:

Michaels trying to make Chavis a victim is laughable.I wish he was hired by the leftist dems.It would highlight just how hypocritical they are.A certified General in the war on women,anti semite and race baiter.The leftist hat trick.Priceless.Hannity has Barber's and the NAACP'S number and Chavis would have been the cherry on top.How shameful for NC in the eyes of the nation.

February 14, 2014 at 2:20 pm
Eric Dailey says:

I can't see what difference it will make if Cash Michaels changes his voter registration to unaffiliated. It will be an empty statement. It won't change the history of the NC Democrats or of Chavis. I don't expect it will change Cash Michaels politics or his "journalism". Perhaps it will change the current behavior of the NC Democrats but I don't know how.

I don't get why he is venting his personal aggravation when the issue is the behavior of Democrats.

February 14, 2014 at 2:56 pm
Bill Morris says:

Cash Michaels is PO'ed? The "esteemed members of the major local media" did a number on Ben Chavis. Not even an attempt at fair journalistic coverage. Huh. Who woulda thunk it. Welcome to the world of Republicans. Imagine the everyday outrage with the "esteemed major local media" that we feel. At least you have Pam Saulsby trying to do a journalist's job. Maybe you can try it when the next Republican smear campaign begins.

February 14, 2014 at 3:32 pm
Robert White says:

Norm Kelly said all I was about to say & more. Thank you sir!

Now let's see some of that righteous outrage from Cash Michaels next time a conservative is publicly 'lynched' by the democRATS (I love that spelling) & their willing media accomplices. Oh & Mr Michaels has helped with those lynchings so I won't hold my breath.

Here's to hoping this circular firing squad hits everybody they are aiming at. Perhaps we can them move forward in NC when we have less of these 'moralists' among us.