Usually when the subject is “Towson University students causing a ruckus by being provocatively hateful about race (or sexual orientation!), our old pal Matthew Heimbach has been the culprit. (If you don’t remember, he’s the college student who started a White Student Union, hosted a Straight Pride day, and chalked “WHITE PRIDE” messages all over Towson’s campus — right before a bunch of tour groups came through.) So we were surprised to learn that the Towson student who caused a “verbal brawl” at the prominent conservative CPAC conference by advocating segregation — yes, you heard me right, he is pro-segregation — I was surprised to hear that the culprit wasn’t Heimbach. But, of course, there’s more to the story than that.
It turns out that Heimbach brought a contingent of a couple-dozen members of the WSU to CPAC where, according to the Baltimore Sun, they were “warmly received among rank and file Republicans” — at least until that whole segregation brouhaha. That took place at a panel led by black Republican K. Carl Smith, founder of the Frederick Douglass Republicans. Clearly the WSU crew had provocation on its mind when they picked this particular panel to attend. Right on cue, during the Q&A session of the well-received panel discussion, Towson student (and WSU member) Scott Terry reportedly said that the focus should instead be on being “Booker T. Washington Republicans” (Washington famously advocated for the U.S. to be “united like the hand, but separate like the fingers”) and asked “why can’t we just have segregation?”
Predictable outrage — the WSU’s preferred atmosphere — ensued. Terry suggested that Frederick Douglass (a former slave) should’ve been grateful for the food and shelter his master provided. A neoconservative black woman who tried to ask a question got told “You’re not welcome.” People shouted.
This is all perfectly in keeping with what the WSU wants, which is more of a focus on young white male voters (as well as a ban on gay marriage and stricter border control). It is not, however, in line with the dominant tack of the Republican party, which is trying its best to reach out to minority voters after losing handily in the 2012 presidential election. That seems only to enflame Heimbach and his cohorts, who have recently begun “tactical firearms training,” as the Sun reports. I used to laugh at Heimbach because he seemed so ridiculous, so nakedly desirous of attention, so obvious in his provocations. But he’s not giving up, and he seems to be gaining followers. These days, he’s not making me laugh — he’s making me shiver.