I am not sure how many of you recall the famous Christmas story of Scrooge. In the story there are three ghosts that visit Mr. Scrooge. One is called the Ghost of Christmas Past. I share this Christmas story with you as I think it appropriate to describe the current situation with the nomination of attorney Curtis Vincent Gomez to a federal judgeship.
I would like to first begin by offering my congratulations to attorney Gomez. As a person of color, I am extremely proud that attorney Gomez is being considered for this prestigious position. It is great for me as a native Virgin Islander to hear a fellow Virgin Islander being recognized for his or her achievements both within and outside the territory. Attorney Gomez's credentials are very impressive.
Unfortunately, there are always two sides to a coin, and I must discuss the other side. While I am extremely proud of attorney Gomez and would not want to throw cold water on his nomination, I am a concerned Republican and somewhat disappointed with the lack of leadership of the local GOP (national committeeman, national committeewomen and state chair). My disappointment lies in the reluctance of the local GOP (misleaders) to question the dedication and loyalty of this nominee.
While, Gomez's nomination will give the national party a feather in its hat as we near election by nominating a person of color, we (Republicans) of the party must not shy away from challenging nominations that are questionable just because the nominee is a person of color.
Sadly, in this day and age, the color of one's skin still appears to play a part in our daily actions and decisions. I pity the national GOP if it selected attorney Gomez just because of the color of his skin and the fact that he is a Republican. I also pity the local GOP (misleaders) if they were afraid to challenge the nomination because attorney Gomez was a person of color. When will we all be able to operate in a color-blind society and make choices that are based upon qualifications?
Did attorney Gomez think that others would forget that he registered as a Democrat in 1994, switched to "no party" in 1995, and then back to Democrat in 1996? Finally, in September 2002, he switched to the GOP. (Would he have switched to the GOP if Al Gore had gone to the White House?). As the Ghost of Christmas Past, I am here to question his party loyalty by questioning his past practices and questioning his future behavior.
Does he have a political philosophy? Every political party stands for certain beliefs and has an overarching philosophy. My question is one of attorney Gomez's loyalty or philosophy. What does Gomez's philosophy say about his political convictions if he can so easily float from party to party? Where does he stand, and for how long can we expect him to stand this ground? I personally wonder if his switching from party to party is a result of a personal agenda, or one of uncertainty as to what position he wishes to take?
For me, being a Republican has not been easy. I have even been discriminated against, questioned and shunned. Not because of the color of my skin, but because of the party of which I am proudly a part. Although he stated he was joking, such was the case when former Democratic Lt. Gov. Derek Hodge made a comment to me that "we do not serve Republicans in this bar." I personally did not receive it as a joke.
I bring this up not because I wish to state that being mistreated is a rite of passage for being a Republican here in the Virgin Islands, but because I wonder how long attorney Gomez will remain a member of our Republican Party based on the challenges he may face. Will he change parties when the going gets tough? Will he change his belief system if pressured? Will he sway in his court rulings based on what others want, versus his beliefs? Will he lose his sense of who he is and what he stands for the next time a federal election rolls around?
Sure, I am extremely proud of attorney Gomez. However, a man who can switch his belief system so easily is worth closer examination. Thus, I am disappointed with the local GOP (misleaders) for not being a major player in this decision to nominate attorney Gomez. However, if they were involved in the decision making, they should have sought assistance from the Republican Territorial Committee and the V.I. Bar Association to assist in the investigation of the nominees and/or offer alternatives.
In closing, I wish attorney Gomez well and hope that he will be confirmed to the position of district judge. He is a Virgin Islander. We should all be proud and support him in his efforts. My hope is that we will all be prepared to answer correctly for our past actions should the Ghost of Christmas Past pay us a visit to question our behaviors of years gone by.
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