Friday, January 6, 2012

Let's Interview a Woman Beater

Representative Daniel P. Gordon, Jr. wrangled his seat in the Rhode Island state house by beating his opponent with a mere 47 votes in the November 2010 election.  Gordon ran as a Republican against Democrat George S. Alzaibak, declaring during the campaign that called attention to the candidates' differences of opinion on same-sex marriage and immigration issues, "The most important issue is honesty and integrity."

So what, right?  Same-sex marriage and immigration are hot topics across the country, and I've yet to hear a politician openly argue against "honesty and integrity."  And, goodness!  Why the heck am I writing about a member of the Rhode Island state legislature in a blog about Occupy Nashville in the first place?  Because Occupy Nashville's affiliated radio show, This Occupied Life, will feature an interview with Gordon during its weekly live broadcast tomorrow.

Voters in Rhode Island know a lot more about Mr. Gordon today than they did when they cast their votes in 2010.  When Mr. "Honesty and Integrity are Important" Gordon was arrested in September 2011 for being a "fugitive from justice," just ten days after the Rhode Island House GOP Caucus voted to expel him from the party, a disturbing history of violent behavior was revealed.  This history included revelation that Gordon had a violent criminal record:

  • In 1996, Gordon was charged with two counts of assault with a dangerous weapon, assault with intent to murder, discharging a firearm within 500 feet of a building and two other weapons charges.  (Gordon was incarcerated four months related to these charges.)
  • In 2001, Gordon plead guilty to charges that he assaulted and threatened to kill his girlfriend.  (After serving 28 days in jail, Gordon received 18 months probation and was under a restraining order to stay away from the woman.)
  • 2003 brought more problems, with charges of car theft, negligent operation of a motor vehicle, operating a motor vehicle with a suspended license, failing to stop for police, using a motor vehicle without authority, operating a motor vehicle without a license, marked lanes violation and speeding being filed against Gordon.  (Disposition of these charges unknown.)
  • In 2004, Gordon, would be charged with attempted murder and assault and battery in a case involving yet another girlfriend.
  •  In 2008, Gordon was charged with eluding police, and it would be those charges he was arrested on in September 2011.
Gordon's official photo on Rhode Island House of Representatives web site.

The record indicates Mr. Gordon has had, at minimum, some problems with self control, but he also very quickly offered an explanation for his troubles when they became public a few months ago:  Gordon claimed his behavior was the result of self medicating, with alcohol, the PTSD he suffers because of military service in a war zone, including a shrapnel injury sustained on the streets of Baghdad.  He further lamented that his service records were not available for the public.

But, those records are, at least in part, now public, and the military record released by a U.S.M.C. spokesperson doesn't support Gordon's claims of combat service or a shrapnel wound in Baghdad.  It seems that Gordon spent his four years in the Marine Corps between 1987 and 1991 in such dangerous battlegrounds as South Carolina, Tennessee, Washington State, and California.  And, while Gordon's  bio on the Rhode Island House of Representatives web page cites "Marine Corps Institute, Terrorism Counteractions, 1990" under the heading of "Education," it may be worth noting that 1990 is the also the year that Gordon was demoted in rank by the Marines...not once, but twice.

So, just why is Occupy Nashville protester Matt Hamill interviewing Rhode Island Representative Daniel P. Gordon on 107.1 WRFN fm Radio Free Nashville tomorrow morning at 10 a.m.?  I don't know.  Perhaps Occupy Nashville has suddenly attained a feminist consciousness and they want to ask Gordon why a convicted woman beater should be holding public office.  Or, maybe the burning question du jour will be one that poses the question of how he squares his "The most important issue is honesty and integrity" statement with his lies by omission about his violent criminal convictions and his overt lying about his military service.  Those are things I'd like to ask him, if I was doing the interview.  Or, maybe he can ask him about his positions on issues, since Gordon's refused to respond to's repeated attempts to get that information.

So, what is the connect to Occupy Nashville?  Why is their weekly radio show, This Occupied Life, interviewing Gordon tomorrow?  It turns out that not only did the Rhode Island GOP Caucus force Gordon out in September, leaders of both the Democrat and Republican parties in that state have called repeatedly for his ouster from the state legislature.  In response, Gordon, a Ron Paul supporter, has joined the Libertarian party and vowed he will not resign.  Is that the connect?  It's no secret that the Occupy movement is populated by people with diverse political views and that Libertarians and Ron Paul supporters are part of that mix.  It's also no secret that the oft repeated stance of Occupy, in general, is that they do not support any particular political party or any politician. 

Let's hope that tomorrow's radio show event will be one after which we can still claim it's true that we are not aligning ourselves with anybody other than ourselves.  Let's pray that by this time tomorrow, we will not have to be talking about this radio show as the latest example of poor judgement on the part of some whose face is a public representative of Occupy Nashville.  And, how 'bout we tune in tomorrow when the show is broadcast?  The format for This Occupied Life has, to date, included the solicitation of questions from listeners and those in the online chat when the show is live streamed on one of ON's two live stream channels.  Here's hoping that format isn't changed for tomorrow's event.  You can log in to participate in chat here at 10 a.m. central time tomorrow morning, Saturday, January 7th, 2011, and assure that the right questions are asked.

Let's further hope that the next time ON interviews a politician it isn't a woman beater who lies bout his military service.