Republicans historically have been known as the Party of Lincoln, the party that freed the slaves. Of course, in recent history that legacy has been tarnished by a long string of politicians and GOP leaders that have said things that can only be seen as bigoted.

The recent story of Young Republican candidate Audra Shay responding to a racist comment on Facebook is but the latest sad story. Audra is running for the leadership of the Young Republicans and hopes to be elected on Saturday. Her recent reaction to an incredibly racist comment is enough for me and I hope for those attending the national convention of Young Republicans in Indianapolis, to NOT elect this woman for leadership.

But instead of focus on the follies and sins of Ms. Shay, I think there needs to be praise given to one woman for standing up to such prejudice. Cassie Wallender, a chairwoman of the Young Republicans in Washington State responded to Ms. Shay on Facebook. She called Shay on her response. The following account comes from writer John Avalon:

Cassie Wallender, a national committeewoman from the Washington Young Republican Federation, then wrote: “Someone please help a naïve Seattle girl out, is Eric’s comment a racist slur?” She answered her own question one minute later: “Okay, why is this okay? I just looked it up. ‘It comes from a term baracoons (a cage) where they used to place Africans who were waiting to be sent to America to be slaves.’ THIS IS NOT OKAY AND IT’S NOT FUNNY.”

Wallender wrote a letter to the national committee of Young Republicans sharing her concerns:

I continue to hold that stating “You go get ‘em” and “LOL” to racist remarks are not acceptable for YRs. Her continued inappropriate responses to the situation and utter lack of an apology are quite disconcerting. I do not want to see infighting as we are all on the same team ultimately, but this is unacceptable especially from any of our elected officers. Even despite the red flags of spin pointed out above, and giving Audra the benefit of the doubt regarding racism, at the very best this was extremely poorly handled by turning it into a political attack on people completely uninvolved and by showing allegiance to those making racist statements while choosing to squarely turn her back on those speaking against racism.

All in all, this is a plea to my fellow National Committee Members to look at how this was handled and decide in your own heart and mind if this was appropriate, and if this is how we want to be represented to our country.

A note of thanks has to go to Cassie for standing up and speaking out. She could have kept her concerns to herself, kept her head down and ignore the issue. Instead, she spoke up.

Some of my friends on the Left assume that all white Republicans are racists. I know that is not the case, but rarely have we seen whites in GOP speak with such courage in the face of hate.

The GOP needs more Cassie Wallenders. They need women and men who stand up for inclusion. They need people to carry the banner of Abraham Lincoln and uphold long held Republican traditions of equality.

Audra Shay had a chance to be brave in the face of hatred and failed miserably. Cassie Wallender is hero for confronting bigotry.

Kudos to you, Cassie.

Crossposted at the Progressive Republican

Dennis Sanders
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Copyright 2009 The Moderate Voice
  • Kris in the U.S.A.

    Well, a thank you to Cassie Wallenders…. but it’s sad when we call such people “heroes” for simply doing the common sense thing. If she even had to debate whether to say something… sad sad sad.

  • kathykattenburg

    Cassie Wallender is a model for us all. Thank you, Cassie.

  • firewallender

    The articles and letters I’ve received have floored me. It’s not everyday you wake up to find yourself quoted on major media outlets, I am completely humbled. Some of the letters brought tears to my eyes.

    Seriously, I would wish that no one would be impressed that I stood up to racism, as it is a normal humane reaction. I am no hero. Hundreds of YRs are outraged at this behavior. I am not an exception. She is the exception, not the rule.

  • TheMagicalSkyFather

    Sadly for speaking out you have become the exception in my opinion but I doubt you will stay that way. My guess is that this will give fuel to those who have wanted to say something but decided instead to be “nice.” I really think that is what Mrs. Shay was attempting to do though it was horribly ill advised. Thank you though and may you enjoy your ride of being “internet famous” you have done a very good deed for your party and your nation and deserve it in my opinion. I also hope that the party is watching you as you have shown more leadership in that moment than I have seen from the party in years, good show.

  • rfyork

    When is everyone going to put to rest “The Party of Lincoln”? The Republican Party stopped being the the party of Lincoln when Strom Thurmond became a Republican. A simple view of the “red” portion of last year’s presidential map should have put paid to any claim the Republican Party has on Lincoln’s legacy.

    Growing up in 50’s, the Republican party I knew was one of fiscal conservatism, libertarianism, social tolerance and a reluctance to become involved in foreign wars. The first black post-Reconstruction senator was Republican Edward Brooke of my home state Massachusetts. Until recently, the Republican party had more women in the Senate than the Democrats. Neither of whom bear any resemblance politically to their southern colleagues.

    Among the young and old Republicans not of the extreme right, there seems to be some kind of nostalgia for a party that hasn’t existed for the better part of 40 years.

    Ms. Wallendar may have shown courage in standing up against the deep seated racism of the current Republican South. But, like King Canute, she is trying to hold back the tide.

    As a Democrat, I say bless you Miss Wallendar. I want to see a Republican Party which returns to those principles noted above. We need you. Unfortunately, it’s not something that’s going to happen soon enough. The contemporary Republican Party is the mule kicking the barn down.

  • youngrepublican

    If you think that the Young Republican Candidate Audra Shay is bad, you should see her opponent Rachel Hoff:

    Pled Guilty to Voter Fraud, even worse!

  • joeinhell

    Cassie, change parties. Go green, go communist, but get the hell out of the republican party. It is strictly “of, by and for the rich.” The Democrats are “of, by and for the biggest “contributors.”

    If anything, this ignorant little republican will get 5,000 more votes for her approval of racism. The Republican party is nothing but racists.

    • asunfisher


      I think you actually got it wrong on both of the parties. Unfortunately, both appear to be about “retaining power” to whatever level that is in whichever year it happens to fall. How many House or Senate members of either party would you trust to babysit your children? We need to wake this country up! If you don’t understand economics nor ethics/morality, you need to educate yourself or don’t vote!

  • asunfisher

    Guys, I know we are all patting each other on the back and of course I hate to interrupt this, but what major media thinks this is a legitimate story? It is a facebook comment. Wow. Who reads all of their Facebook comments? Yes we should heap praise on Cassie for taking a screen shot of this and sending it to all of the liberal blogs. We need more young repubs to feed us internal dirt. But really, is this really a story? Have you read up on the Louisiana chick and seen all the crap she has done to promote conservative ideology amongst African Americans in Louisiana? The guy she ran as her vice chair in the state is black. Let’s go find some real stories about racism and injustice and leave this one up to the young repubs to fight out amongst themselves. Usually you can find real stories on this sight so let’s get back to business.

  • DLS

    “It is a facebook comment. Wow.”

    Many a lib on the Web likes to “misoverexaggerate” more than Bush could ever have been accused of doing.

  • sup

    The Republican Party is doomed. The racism inside the closet of many a frightened white Republican voter is coming to the surface with Obama in the White House. It’s sad to see what was once a fairly intelligent party that fought for freedom slide back down into the slimy depths of racist politics. It’s 2009, and the Republicans have no chance of winning elections any time soon with sort of nonsense going on.

  • isWithinYou

    Audra Shay used hateful language in other instances. It’s a sad day for the Republican Party and American politics in general when civil political dialogue is replaced with hate and bigotry.

    At least Rachel Hoff admitted openly that she did something wrong and apologized for it.

    Audra Shay never apologized for her hateful statements.

    “It was also learned that ranking members of YR Renewal [Audra Shay’s Team] were responsible for trying to block the Nevada delegation from being chartered and seated. Sources claim that they allowed them to be seated once they realized Nevada’s delegates supported Renewal.”

    Let me say “Thanks, but no thanks” to supporting the Republican Party and these types of leaders.