We have been discussing the increasing intolerance on the left for conservative and controversial speech. A case in point comes out of Topeka, Kansas where Adrienne Foster, the director of the Kansas Hispanic and Latino American Affairs Commission, is facing calls to resign for simply supporting Donald Trump in comments made to the Kansas City Star.
Three Democrat lawmakers, Louis Ruiz of Kansas City, John Alcala of Topeka and Ponka-We Victors of Wichita, sent a letter to Governor Sam Brownback objecting to the support shown for Trump, whose comments are described as “inaccurate and highly inflammatory and discriminatory.” They insisted:
“Donald Trump has described Latin American immigrants as being killers, criminals, drug dealers and rapists, has called for the building of a wall between the U.S. and Mexico and has even praised the beating of a Latin American man by his supporters,” wrote the Representatives.
Ruiz wrote that Foster has “diminished her position” in the organization and called on Brownback to request her resignation.
I can well understand such feelings but it is shocking to see lawmakers seeking to punish someone for her political views. People can disagree about Trump, even with the hispanic community. I do not believe that different political views diminish an organization but rather shows its strength and diversity. I cannot imagine that these legislators would want such a political litmus test applied to them in participating in commissions or groups.
Foster would seem someone whose success should be celebrated in the Hispanic community. Her bio states:
Adrienne was the first to attend college after obtaining her high school diploma from Bishop Ward High School. After receiving a LULAC scholarship to Washburn University, Adrienne graduated with a Bachelor’s in Public Administration and an Associate in Art. Later, Adrienne obtained her Master’s in Public Administration from the University of Missouri-Kansas City along with her Fundraising Certificate. Adrienne was elected to the Roeland Park City Council during a Special Election in June 2005. She became very active with the National League of Cities and two of their constituent groups; Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) and Hispanic Elected & Local Officials (HELO). Adrienne currently serves as the President of WIMG and First Vice-President of HELO. After serving on the City Council for four years, Adrienne ran for Mayor of Roeland Park and was elected in April 2009. Adrienne volunteers with her Church, Kansas Children’s Service League and the Shawnee Indian Mission Historic site. She has been married for 17 years to her husband Stephen, and has five boys.
The fact that such a position is now considered reasonable is itself chilling. These legislators do not seem at all concerned about punishing people for political views. They are not saying that a director cannot make such comments but that Foster simply took the wrong side in praising Trump. I could understand if there is a ban on staff making political statements in their role as a Commission representative. However, the letter seems to object to Trump’s view — suggesting that it would not be a problem is Foster praised the ideas of Clinton or Sanders. Unless there is a contractual or legal bar on such statements, Foster appears to be the subject of attacks because she is viewed as having the “wrong” views on politics.
I am still trying to find a copy of the letter to see if the legislators are citing any legal authority for their demand.