SocraticGadfly: #BlackLivesMatter in Gainesville, Texas; so does Young Republicans PR

July 06, 2020

#BlackLivesMatter in Gainesville, Texas;
so does Young Republicans PR

Just a typical Friday night last week in Gainesville, with the delayed kickoff of the Summer Sounds music series, and a few people at the corner of the courthouse square greeting attendees, amirite?

(Update, Aug. 17: The Cooke County Commissioners Court voted to keep its CSA/UDC statue. Blog post coming for later this week.)

What's that at the left hand edge, behind the "White Silence is Compliance" person?

Why, I think that's the base of one of those 100-year old United Daughters of the Confederacy statues.

And it says?

Note: Bobby Lee didn't write that, contra what some may say or have heard. It was actually written by an Oxford don, who'd just done a new translation of the Iliad. In the preface, he included a poem of his which likened the Confederacy to a new Troy. That's the lines you see there. That said, in 1868, he gave a copy of his Iliad, complete with poem, to Slave Marse Robert. (Picture that being said by Shelby Foote on Ken Burns semi-racist by silence Civil War series.)

That said, the lead speaker among young adults at a recent commissioners court meeting only referenced the issue of treason, indirectly, and not race. Also, Tucker Craft said he's a registered Republican and made sure to make that the very first thing he said. And, he pulled out the old BS about the "Democrat party being the party of Jim Crow." As salutatorian of Gainesville High and someone who interned at the county attorney's office, he knows that "DemocratIC" is the preferred usage. And, that most the Jim Crow Democrats went on to become Jim Crow Republicans before they died.

So, sorry I missed the first minute of the speechifying, Tucker, but having heard the whole thing now? Sounds like Cooke County Young Republicans PR first, and anything and everything else second.

Here's the county's video of the meeting. Listen for yourself. His comments start at about the 3:30 mark.

I don't know if the other two speakers were associated with him or the "Progressive Rights Organization" he claims to represent but that doesn't even have a Facebook page. Nor do I know if everybody in the pictures above is affiliated with him. Nor do I know — whether or not they are affiliated with him — they've heard things like what he told the commissioners court and, if they have, if they've parsed his words carefully.

Finally, Mr. Craft was not at the music event last Friday. The people he claims to represent may or may not be these people.

The Gainesville Register had a story about some of the protestors. In it, the group was now called "PRO Gainesville." They have a website and a Facebook group, of which Mr. Craft is NOT one of the admins. The group talks about systemic racism, something Mr. Craft didn't mention. They have a Facebook page, as well as a group. The page is public.

And, I waded through about two dozen posts and more than 200 comments and subcomments. Saw Tucker Craft's name there not once. I went back more than a week before he spoke to the commissioners court. Went back to the June 14 start date of the page. Didn't see a single comment by him. Didn't see a single photo of him, either.

Further update, July 8: I stopped by the courthouse square on the way to Tom Thumb, during this night's vigil. People on "both sides" videotaping each other and more. About 10 Gainesville cops, couple of sheriff's deputies and a couple of state troopers. About 20-30 activists. Half a dozen I'd identify as clearly anti-activist. Three-four pickups with (likely made in China) American flags in their beds. About 20-30 observers of the activists, perhaps half "antis" and half curious. A few were open carrying. The Dallas Observer has more on Gainesville and other exurban areas, including the involvement of Denton County NAACP head Jessica Luther Rummel. Interesting that Granbury, possibly has open-minded people. TOTALLY non-shocking that Waxahachie and Ellis County do not.)

Anyway, Tucker? I walked around the whole square. I don't personally know you, and the time you spoke in court was the first time I'd seen you. Nonetheless, with your hair wave up front, I'm fairly sure I'd recognize you even with a mask on. Especially if you had a PRO Gainesville shirt like others. I didn't see you.

So, Tucker Craft? You're either a huge slacktivist, a grifter for a bit of  local personal fame, or you're trying to derail or co-opt a movement you don't actually represent, and lying to do that, as far as I can tell with this level of searching. And, if you want to really care about justice, you can start at the local level, go to County Attorney Ed Zielinski under whom you interned, and tell him to stop prosecuting low-level pot cases.

I know that I've now hit the borderline between skepticism and cynicism. If I see any new information to modify that impression, I will. But, I'm not going out of my way for it. Using old Republican PR lines is clear evidence of where you come from. As for the PRO Facebook page, per the scientific bon mot, absence of evidence  isn't necessarily the same as evidence of absence. BUT ... under Bayesian-like probability adjustments, enough compilation of absence of evidence points more and more toward evidence of absence.

I mean, you stated in your speech to commissioners that this was their chance to be better than Democrats. You politicized this from the start.

(Update: He signed up for the July 13 public forum, but chose not to speak. In stories in the Gainesville paper, let alone beyond, like the Denton Record Chronicle, PRO founder Torrey Henderson has been interviewed. Michelle Angus has been interviewed. Craft? Not so much.)

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