From: Jane Bilello
To: Bill O’Connor
Date: April 26, 2010
Since its inception over a year ago, the Henderson County TEA for Liberty organization has come a long way. TFL has had some successes but, in the end, far too many failures. And we arrive at our present sad milestone along a crooked, stony path. It is clear now that we are at a crossroads from which we must not turn away.
To look forward with clear vision and an eye toward progress, we must squarely face the causes that place us here and the choices ahead for our next footfall.
I recall the words, “All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing.”
In this quote, Edmund Burke acknowledges a fundamental principle that applies to a variety of situations. Most certainly political ones. It is the principle of discrimination.
While all men are created equal, they seldom stay that way. And when presented with choices in the political marketplace, it is the obligation of the ideologue to discriminate; that is, to sort out the good from the bad and the good from the better. To avoid this obligation is to stand for nothing, to stand without principle, as well as to betray the trust of those who look to him to apply the judgment necessary to steer a clear and profitable course for the body he represents; in this case, the Henderson County Tea Party.
You state in your recent letter to TFL members (Apr 22, 2010), “We can all be proud that no candidate or event that we have been asked to publicize has been denied. Our group stands firmly neutral in all contested primaries, and has made no endorsement of any candidate for any office.”
This is the abdication of judgment. How can a man be proud of turning his back his duty to discriminate? To discuss the inferior in any manner implying neutrality, is to sanction inferiority. One must speak up in situations where silence can be taken as agreement with or the sanction of inferiority. In political contests, where so much is at stake, one must discriminate.
But then let’s examine the matter more closely. Is this in truth what you have done? — turn your back on exersicing judgment? Do you expect us to believe that you see Heath Shuler, Patsy Keever and Jeff Miller as political equals, each deserving an impartial representation on our website, in our literature and in our public statements?
As it happens, however, we know that you yourself have endorsed congressional candidate Jeff Miller in the newspaper and in a flyer sent to voters wherein which you identify yourself as “Founder of the Henderson County Tea Party.”
Are we to suppose that this is not an endorsement sanctioned by the TFL? Why identify with the organization that professes to have no skin in the game? You can’t have it both ways, my friend. And we won’t let you.
What is worse, you have directly and indirectly slandered the Asheville Tea Party, of which I am a proud board member, and its leader. ATPAC has been forthcoming, public and transparent in its principles and in its goal to find, assess and support candidates based on those principles. There is no secrecy at work here. Only due diligence.
You never did that. ATPAC has accomplished what TFL set out to do last July. You hijacked that process and used TFL to widen the circle of your personal influence and power. You have also been hostile to me since I joined the Echenbaum campaign. This is a double standard that redounds to your disfavor. Are we to praise you for your endorsements and blame others for theirs? These, among other spears and arrows, you have thrown at me and ATPAC, to name a few.
Your letter to TFL members is another in a long string of thinly disguised attacks on your betters. Your preoccupation with slandering and vilifying a more successful sister organization in the eyes of others is childish and shameful and has made you a severe liability to the tea party movement locally. You do more harm to our cause by opening your mouth than does lady liberty in closing her eyes.
You speak for fewer and fewer as each drop of ink spills from your poisoned pen and it is time for you to retire to the cell from which you first emerged and lock the cage door behind you. In short: you have become useless to the cause our organization was formed to champion.
Instead, you are a pompous windbag with a funny hat who has nothing more to trumpet but his own impotent disgruntlement. Your persistent displays of emotional dysfuntion are a hinderance and, finally, an embarassment. This is too distracting to a movement that, now more than ever, needs men and women of character, conviction and a modicum of appeal. You have shown yourself to be devoid of these qualities.
In sum, when discrimination was wanted, you were neutral. When unity was wanted, you were divisive. When leadership was wanted, you were self-absorbed. And when pettiness is hated, you are its standard bearer.
You have in fact served TFL so badly that you have become quite indistiguishable from our critics. You are neither a leader nor a follower. You are a thorny obstacle that must be kicked to the wayside, and with haste.
I have a long laundry list of complaints and reasons why I can no longer support this organization which had so much promise. I will be submitting them to the ‘why-are-folks-leaving-TFL’ committee.
It is time to confess that you are not at all my ‘cup of tea.’ And time as well to dissassociate myself with the countless harms you insist on inflicting on our coalition with good people.
There is no one more disappointed with you than I. You know that I was always supportive and available. But now I am done and I encourage others to reflect on my concerns, to think for themselves and to follow their hearts.
JANE BILELLO, et. al.