Finley: Nobody wants Dave Agema

Nolan Finley
The Detroit News

My grandson once responded to my aggravating with the angry declaration: “Nobody don’t like you, Papa.” He then ticked off the long list of family members who fall into that category.

Nobody don’t like Dave Agema, either. And the names on that list are growing by the hour.

Agema of Grandville is Michigan’s Republican National Committee member. He’s also, by all evidence, an unreconstructed bigot.

He’s filled his Facebook pages with hateful reposts and his own commentary on the threat from Muslim-Americans, the evils and uncleanliness of homosexuality and, now, the supposed inferiority of blacks.

Michigan Republicans, including Gov. Rick Snyder, legislative leaders, the congressional delegation and state party chair Bob Schostak, have all called for his head. Betsy DeVos, one of the party’s most generous funders, at one point hinted she’d withhold her donations if the GOP didn’t dump Agema.

And now, finally, the national party has had enough. The Republican National Committee is scheduled to vote during its meeting Friday in San Diego on a resolution demanding Agema’s resignation. The vote should be unanimous.

It is vital that a party too often falsely accused of racism take a united stand when undeniable racism is found in its ranks.

The final straw for the GOP came after a New Year’s Day post by Agema of an article from an outfit called American Renaissance. I read the post before Agema scrubbed it from his page, and it was a pure segregationist rant straight out of the 1950s.

The author, who described himself as a public defender, derided blacks for their limited intellectual capacity, poor work ethic, cultural devolution and inability to follow the law. His thesis was that Americans should have a right to protect their culture against such miscreants.

Agema posted it with the endorsement: “Very interesting article by a public defender. We are in a cultural battle. Very enlightening for anyone who is concerned about crime in America …”

This was not a blunder. It is consistent with the tenor of Agema’s social network tripe.

Nor is it about free speech. Agema can say and think whatever he wants; party members likewise can decide they don’t want someone with those views representing them.

And it’s not about upholding Republican or Christian values, as Agema contends.

Racism, bigotry, sexism are not core values of either conservatives or Christians. Agema represents a narrow, hateful subset who have attached themselves to the Republican Party.

The party should scrape them off, starting with Agema.

Party rules apparently don’t allow the committee to eject a member short of a felony conviction. Who knows whether a narcissist like Agema will take the hint and step down, no matter how overwhelming the vote against him. If he won’t, the GOP should convene an emergency session to change its rules.

There’s some concern in the state party about making Agema a martyr in advance of its late February convention. But that’s as good a time as any to take a stand against hatemongers.


Follow Nolan Finley at, on Twitter at @nolanfinleydn, on Facebook at nolanfinleydetnews and watch him at 7:30 p.m. Thursdays on "MiWeek" on Detroit Public TV, Channel 56.