Occupy Pickering

In March, the Shelby GOP met at Houston High to hold its every two year convention and elect officers. It turned out to be a six hour ordeal. The slate of candidates was contested and a very heated event ensued.

People from outside of the party had infiltrated to stir dissension. Why? Did they want to take over the organization? If so, for what purpose? Were they malcontents, Tea Party members or Libertarians? Don’t know, but there was organization behind them.

Tipped off that a similar event was planned for the East Shelby Republican Club, I attended their meeting last night at the Pickering Center. The organization had bloomed to 277 members, making it the largest Republican Club in Tennessee, according to President Arnold Weiner.

Soon after the meeting was opened, a bit of turbulence surfaced. The club had raised enough money to donate $5,000 to the Shelby GOP. They wanted to vote on turning it over to the Republican party, but were challenged immediately.

Some of the same characters who had disrupted the convention were there and were behind this move. They argued it was too early to give the money. Clay Shelton argued that having been a candidate, he knew the importance of money early. The voice vote passed easily.

Weiner had smartly put this issue first. The goal of the “newcomers” was to push it off until they could be in charge, post election, and stop the money from going to the GOP. They were outfoxed.

Next, the sixteen candidates from two slates were given two minutes to introduce themselves. All was fine. It was when the vote began that trouble started.

As at the convention, the “occupiers” had started the turmoil by refuting the voting method. They did so here, too. The traditional manner of hand count by holding up a colored piece of paper was disputed. Paula Sedgewick, who took charge for Arnold Weiner who was running for reelection, was challenged and screamed at by people who insisted that Roberts Rules of Order be followed. They yelled and screamed about democracy and paper ballots as they had previously.

Personally, I don’t know what difference it would have made. I would have voted the same by hand or paper. Each group had tellers to count the votes, so I can’t see how a proper count would have been missed. If anyone was intimidating, it was the challengers, shouting and getting in peoples’ faces, not the established members.

The challengers had printed up ballots at the ready and it was agreed to use them. Germantown Mayor Sharon Goldsworthy had been scheduled to speak; clearly she was not going to have time.

After an hour, while they were still counting ballots, I left. From other attendees’ accounts, the thing went on for two more hours. In the end, the challengers lost every office.

Why is this happening? I was told that other Shelby clubs have had attempted coups as well. And that it has happened in other parts of the state.

Who are these people? Union people? Democrats? Malcontents?

The fact that they want to take over our clubs shows the vital importance of them. Is this an attempt to destroy from within? It is troubling that dissension is popping up all over the country.

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