MICHIGAN – Oh there goes that Dave Agema again. The erstwhile National GOP Committeemen from West Michigan posted on his private Facebook page on Oct. 18 a screed against Arabs and their abilities to fly modern fighter jets. In the screed, he refers to them as “camel jockeys.”
Republican political activist Joe Munem released the private post and condemns Agema’s actions. In an exclusive statement to Between The Lines, Munem went much further.
“Michigan GOP National Committeeman Dave Agema’s most recent act of intolerance has drifted into the realm of overt racism. To refer to Arabs as “camel jockeys” and then suggest that all Arabs are genetically prone to be substandard fighter pilots is breathtaking in its stupidity and arrogance,” Munem wrote. “To post such hatred on Facebook two weeks before the election jeopardizes Republican candidates from top to bottom. As a life-long Republican and an Arab-American desiring the party to remain relevant, I find it unacceptable that Dave Agema continues to have a position of responsibility in the Republican party. His actions could not be more destructive to the party if he were acting as a paid operative of Lon Johnson and the Michigan Democratic Party.”
Agema has a long history of posting bizarre rants on his public and private Facebook pages.
Munem was not alone in his condemnation of Agema’s latest Facebook foul. Dawud Walid, executive director of CAIR Michigan, was also unamused.
“He should be persona non-grata,” Walid said in a phone interview. “Republican leaders should call for his immediate resignation.”
Don’t hold your breath for that anytime soon, however.
“Governor has been incredibly clear on his position about discrimination being wrong – period – and no place for it in any political party, as well as his calls for civility,” responded Sara Wurfel, Gov. Rick Snyder’s spokesperson. Wurfel was asked if Snyder would call on Agema to resign. “I would leave it at that.”
“The Michigan GOP has a real problem on their hands. They can’t get Gov. Snyder to say anything of substance and they can’t get Dave Agema to stop talking,” said Sam Inglot, communications specialist with Progress Michigan. “Conservative politicians who have received an endorsement from Agema should quickly condemn this statement and return any campaign donations they have received from him. Racism and Islamophobia have no place in Michigan. It’s well past time for the Michigan GOP to show Agema the door.”
Ryan Bates, director of Michigan People’s Campaign, a local immigrant rights group, provided the following statement.
“Governor Snyder says he wants to make Michigan welcoming to immigrants, but the leadership of his party continues to wallow in the worst racism. By tolerating Dave Agema’s bigotry, the Republican party is choosing to side with hatred.”
For the record, some of the candidates Agema is pushing are Gary Glenn, former head of the American Family Association of Michigan and an extreme anti-gay ideologue, Todd Courser, a tea party favorite who is also quite anti-gay and Cindy Gamrat, another anti-gay tea party devotee.