Senator Jake Knotts Resolution
I am taking this opportunity to explain how I will be representing Lexington County tomorrow at the State Executive Committee meeting in regards to the situation with our local Senator Jake Knotts.
I will not support any action to address this issue. We, as an autonomous party, have dealt with our senator’s comments as is our duty. We have issued a very strongly worded and supported censure and statement against the comments made by Senator Jake Knotts. The state party does not need to address this issue. They should defer to our statement on this matter. A strong component of what is wrong with our government at all levels is that we have too much government imposing themselves where they are not needed or invited. The state party and Greenville County has their own issues to deal with and should not try to insert themselves into Lexington County’s affairs.
I will therefore strongly urge the resolutions committee and the Executive Committee as a whole to abstain from elevating this local issue to a statewide issue, perpetuating the embarrassing story that will surely follow in the local and national press. Senator Knotts has a right to express his opinions in the marketplace of ideas and he must negotiate the consequences of those comments. We, as a party, have the equal right to express our opinions about his opinion and we have done so. It is up to the voters of Lexington County to issue the final judgment in this matter.
We, as a party, must support the idea as expressed in our creed “that it is my heritage … to think and act for myself” and allow Senator Knotts to fail or succeed on his
own words and thoughts and on the merits of this debate independent of the sanctimonious protestations of the Executive Committee fueled by the support of personal antagonisms toward Senator Knotts.
Regardless of the strength of my philosophical arguments there are other equally relevant reasons not to address this issue, not the least of which is the simple fact that there is no mechanism by which to expel a sitting Senator from the party. Even if there was it would be a very questionable precedent to set. We must not become thought police or speech code enforcers. Ill advised comments reap their own penalties. We will only compromise our principles by convening a firing squad for every errant word or vote. Again let the voters decide.
Finally any action taken by the State Executive Committee will garner national and local press to display our barbarism and division and this in a week when we have attempted to demonstrate unity and magnanimity. This issue has been dealt with appropriately by the county party and by the State Chairman. Any action or even discussion of this matter merely serves to fuel the accusations by the hostile press that Republicans are racists and out-of-touch.
The best course of action for us to take is to defer to Senator Knotts’ local party as the final comment on this issue. There is no corporal advantage to be gained by reviving this controversy but only personal one-upmanship for those who would sacrifice the image of the Republican Party for their own personal advantage.
As always I will be happy to hear from you on this issue at.
Rich Bolen, Chairman
Lexington County Republican Party