June Wood, president Washington County Republican Women
Julie Harris, second vice-president of the National Federation of Republican Women
Mattie Harris, Washington County Republican Committee state committeewoman
A trio of speakers at 2021’s first meeting of the Washington County Republican Women presented strategies for moving forward.
Incoming club President June Wood said recent events have prompted people to become active in politics and Republicans must welcome them and get them involved. Julie Harris, second vice-president of the National Federation of Republican Women, said Republican leaders need to find solutions to what is bothering people. Her daughter, Mattie Harris, Washington County Republican Committee state committeewoman and a University of Arkansas Ph.D. student, said young people are hungering for truth.
“As Republicans, we embrace our diversity,” said Wood. “Not only are we diverse in race, culture, and nationalities, we have a broad range of ideas and opinions. We do not attack, cancel, destroy or cast aside others when we do not agree.” She was critical of “lines being drawn in the sand” regarding Republicans supporting or not supporting former President Trump. “We have work to do!” she said. “We have work to do because we are angry. We are angry because we believe in fair elections but we are not being heard. We are angry because we believe in law and order, but it does not apply to everyone.
“We are angry because for four years our president and party have been under attack. We are angry because of the rioting (without prosecution), race baiting, [accusations of ]Russian collusion, impeachment hearings, constant media attack, and absolute hatred.
“Of course, no one condones the breaching of the Capitol – it was an absolutely surreal moment for me when I learned of it. But when you have 74 million people that know that an election was stolen, you have got to listen and have your day in court.
“It took the breaching of Capitol for those wrongdoers to be prosecuted. All summer long, worst acts were committed with absolutely no consequence. When there is no consequence to your actions, people become emboldened to commit crimes.” Wood noted that with thousands of people at the national Capitol and at state capitols, “not one fire was set, not one police car was overturned, and no one’s livelihood was destroyed.”
“We are at a crossroads when our country needs us the most,” Wood said, “President Trump ignited a flame in Republicans, patriots, and ordinary people. If you take those 74 million people and a revamped Republican Party, that would be a force to be reckoned with!” Wood outlined strategies for promoting conservatism, registering voters, educating citizens, and orienting new members of Republican county committees.
“We are finding that since this election, people want to get more involved and join [Republican] committees and not just be a comment on Twitter and Facebook,” she said. “Therefore, these doors need to be open and we must be ready to receive! We, the Republican Party, cannot be broken! After all, we are the party with strong Christian values and have always been the party to rise up and do what is right and have the overall vision for our country.”
Julie Harris told the group that “It’s a tough time to be in politics.” She said it’s a time to pause, and that the first place to start from is the truth. “In a time of deceit, telling the truth is a revolutionary act,” she said, quoting George Orwell. As a result of recent events, it’s a time to let people hurt, but they must stop venting.
Republican leaders, Julie Harris said, must find solutions to what’s bothering people. Republican women must tell the Republican story, making reference to the party’s platform. “The media are not telling our story,” she said. Harris said elected officials should not just be contacted when people are mad. They need to be complimented when it’s appropriate and ongoing relationships must be built with them.
Mattie Harris said that as part of her graduate program in education at the U of A, she is a teaching assistant for a class on conservatism. Curiosity is prompting students to take the class. The students, she said, have a “hunger for truth.” And she noted that Generation Z students (born between approximately 1995 and 2010) “may be the most conservative students since World War II.”
About 50 attended the Republican Women meeting January 26. It marked a new meeting location – Mermaid’s in Fayetteville. Meetings are the fourth Tuesday of the month at 6:30 p.m., with a social time beginning at 6.