UPDATED: GOP Flier in Tennessee Draws Criticism

By Jennifer Siegel

Published October 26, 2006, issue of October 27, 2006.
  • Print
  • Share Share

The Tennessee Republican Party has sent out a flier with the tag line “Vote early to preserve your way of life” across the top.

Among the recipients of the flier was Rabbi Louis Zivic of Knoxville’s Heska Amuna Synagogue, who described the phrase as racially charged.

“I think it’s a subtle message, but it’s well understood,” Zivic told the Forward. “I think this is all pitched sub rosa to people who have a tendency to be discriminatory.”

In earlier decades, some white leaders used similar language in opposing civil rights for blacks, though Zivic was reluctant to draw a direct connection to fights over desegregation.

“I’m not sure I’d put it in terms of Jim Crow, that seems a little bit strong, particularly here in East Tennessee,” the rabbi said. But it “means that in Tennessee we live life in a particular way. We cherish values like heterosexual marriage, we cherish values like family, and I think the implication is we want to stop further change, and of course the racial situation is part of what changes.”

The executive director of the Tennessee Republican Party, Chris Devaney, denied that the mailing had any racial implications. “To suggest that our mailing has racial overtones is just absurd,” Devaney told the Forward. “This mailing is just pointing out that Democrats, if elected, would change your way of life by raising your taxes and taking your money.”

The GOP flier urges people to vote Republican, but does not mention any specific candidates for office. Apart from the phrase in question, the remainder of the flier has an unambiguously economic theme.

“If you don’t vote, liberal Democrats will take control of Congress and raise your taxes,” the ad says. The background has pictures of $100 bills and a cash-register that says, “Taxes $$.”

Despite the economic thrust, Zivic compared the mailing to a recent television ad from the Republican National Committee that takes aim at Tennessee Senate candidate Rep. Harold Ford Jr., who could become the South’s first black senator since Reconstruction. The ad, which Democrats and some Republicans claim played on anxiety over interracial relationships, features a young white woman imploring Ford to call her.

Ford’s GOP opponent, Bob Corker, asked the RNC to stop airing the ad, describing it as “tacky” and “over the top.”






Find us on Facebook!
  • "Selma. Nearly 50 years ago it was violent Selma, impossibly racist Selma, site of Bloody Sunday, when peaceful civil rights marchers made their first attempt to cross the Pettus Street Bridge on the way to the state capitol in Montgomery, Alabama." http://jd.fo/r50mf With the 50th anniversary approaching next spring, a new coalition is bringing together blacks, Jews and others for progressive change.
  • Kosovo's centuries-old Jewish community is down to a few dozen. In a nation where the population is 90% Muslim, they are proud their past — and wonder why Israel won't recognize their state. http://jd.fo/h4wK0
  • Israelis are taking up the #IceBucketChallenge — with hummus.
  • In WWI, Jews fought for Britain. So why were they treated as outsiders?
  • According to a new poll, 75% of Israeli Jews oppose intermarriage.
  • Will Lubavitcher Rabbi Moshe Wiener be the next Met Council CEO?
  • Angelina Jolie changed everything — but not just for the better:
  • Prime Suspect? Prime Minister.
  • Move over Dr. Ruth — there’s a (not-so) new sassy Jewish sex-therapist in town. Her name is Shirley Zussman — and just turned 100 years old.
  • From kosher wine to Ecstasy, presenting some of our best bootlegs:
  • Sara Kramer is not the first New Yorker to feel the alluring pull of the West Coast — but she might be the first heading there with Turkish Urfa pepper and za’atar in her suitcase.
  • About 1 in 40 American Jews will get pancreatic cancer (Ruth Bader Ginsberg is one of the few survivors).
  • At which grade level should classroom discussions include topics like the death of civilians kidnapping of young Israelis and sirens warning of incoming rockets?
  • Wanted: Met Council CEO.
  • “Look, on the one hand, I understand him,” says Rivka Ben-Pazi, a niece of Elchanan Hameiri, the boy that Henk Zanoli saved. “He had a family tragedy.” But on the other hand, she said, “I think he was wrong.” What do you think?
  • from-cache

Would you like to receive updates about new stories?




















We will not share your e-mail address or other personal information.

Already subscribed? Manage your subscription.