Mark West Responds to Tea Party and Liberty Movement Pushback over His Endorsement of Diane Black for Governor

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After careful consideration over the course of several months, Chattanooga Tea Party Founder and President Mark West decided to endorse Rep. Diane Black (R-TN-06) in her bid for governor, as The Tennessee Star reported on Wednesday.

An experienced activist, West was an early organizer of the Tea Party rallies in 2009 with his founding of the Chattanooga Tea Party. For nearly a decade, he has poured his time, talent and personal resources into critical efforts to promote politicians and policies that live up to his high standard of constitutional muster.

West has won more political battles than he’s lost and along the way, has emerged as one of Tennessee’s most respected leaders of the Liberty movement. He expected some pushback from factions among his friends and allies in Tennessee’s conservative grassroots community for his endorsement of Rep. Black. But when some strident “keyboard warriors” began to attack Rep. Black’s stance on the sanctity of life, West decided to respond via a semi-private Facebook channel.

With his permission, we publish his full remarks, here:

Following my endorsement of Diane Black for Governor, there has been a harsh response from some. The personal attacks are fine. Sadly, I’ve come to realize that’s the norm from many “friends” in the tea party/liberty movement.

However, what I must set straight is one particular line of attack from those who hate anyone who they do not support. It’s a malicious attack. It’s a false attack. It’s absolute deception at it’s worst. And to use a term from their favorite politician, it’s the worst kind of #fakenews.

And here is an example of what is being deployed. They claim that Diane Black supports Planned Parenthood. The first time that was thrown at me yesterday, I actually laughed and responded with “LOL” to the comment.

I laughed because I knew that Diane Black has been a stalwart supporter of life for decades. When she was in the Tennessee legislature, her record was clear and unblemished. She was named the Right to Life legislator of the year. She supported the Tennessee Yes on 1 pro-life Constitutional Amendment with hundreds of thousands of dollars of her own personal resources. (Without her financial support, I am told the Amendment would likely not have passed. That Amendment is saving unborn lives today.)

More recently, Diane Black was the Author and Sponsor in Congress in 2015 & 2017 of the “Defund Planned Parenthood Act.” This bill would do exactly what its title implies. Sadly, Congress has not yet passed it.

So, with the above facts as a backdrop, those asserting Diane Black supports Planned Parenthood provided me with a link to a blurb on a website entitled “Volunteer State.” I had never heard of this site, but that’s not unusual. I try to stay clear of sites which don’t appear to have any semblance of credibility. Volunteer State is one such gutter based, pseudo-news political website.

Volunteer State trumpeted their headline: “TN Republican Governor Candidate Blasted for Planned Parenthood Funding.” I’m not going to rehash their distorted reasons for arriving at such a nonsensical and deceptive headline. If you want to read it, you can go find it yourself. But I’m not going to help promote such a shadowy and deceptive site.

As mentioned above, Representative Diane Black has been the author and Sponsor of the legislation in Congress entitled “Defund Planned Parenthood.” (Google “Defund Planned Parenthood Act Diane Black” to get the truth.) It’s deceptive and completely dishonest for anyone to suggest Black is a supporter of Planned Parenthood. Yet, Volunteer State makes such a ludicrous claim, and sadly low information voters parrot the claim, and spread malicious lies.

It’s clear that Volunteer State is simply a mud-slinging #fakenews website that was set up just a few months ago (June 2017) to target and attack certain politicians and candidates. But unlike other #fakenews sites like CNN and MSNBC, Volunteer State hides who they really are by registering their website privately, so no one can know who the individuals behind these deceptive attacks are. I have a suspicion who it might be but given it’s purely speculative, I won’t name such. But suffice it to say, if a person relies on a website that employs deceptive tactics and then hides who they are, they deserve to be fooled and misled. Sadly though, they deceive many others when they share lies. By the way, here’s the link to the registration info for Volunteer State reflecting the private registration option they used, so as to disguise who is behind their deceptive “news” articles:

I have long spoken out against websites that trumpet extraordinary headlines with half-truths (which are better called full-lies). They exploit the fears of people and use them to advance their agenda. The tea party/liberty movement relies heavily on such garbage to advance their beliefs and when they do, they do themselves, the movement and their community a great disservice.

Truth does not need lies to advance its cause. Truth can always withstand the light of penetrating examination. And Truth will win in the end.

So why do those who have the Truth resort to lies, deception and #fakenews? It may be because we are lazy. Or because we are uncertain of ultimate victory. Or we have lost our faith in the Author of Truth. Either or any of those reasons merely reveal we are human. They reveal that we all grow weary in well doing. And that when we are weak, we must look to Him who is strong. And we must also accept the admonition of others who can see the lies we are dabbling in.

So my encouragement to all those who are willing to blow up friendships over something as small as an endorsement, or are willing to resort to gutter tactics or gutter websites to destroy a person, let’s back up. Let’s take a few moments and consider this word from Scripture:

“And now, dear brothers and sisters, one final thing. Fix your thoughts on what is true, and honorable, and right, and pure, and lovely, and admirable. Think about things that are excellent and worthy of praise.” Philippians 4:8


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5 Thoughts to “Mark West Responds to Tea Party and Liberty Movement Pushback over His Endorsement of Diane Black for Governor”

  1. Karen Bracken

    Isn’t it funny how those that do not agree with Mr. West’s choice in the Governor’s race and has the audacity to express their own opinion is accused of “attacking”. This is a tactic generally reserved for liberal Democrats. Many of us that also have been activists for every bit as long as Mr. West do not agree with who he sponsored and have expressed that we disagree and why (it is much more than Planned Parenthood). If disagreement with ones policy is now deemed as an attack then is it any wonder why we have such a breakdown in communication which generally keeps us from being affective and has hampered past efforts to restore our Constitution and liberty.
    This is one election and probably for the first time in many years that we do not have to vote for the best of worst or to hold our nose when we go to vote. I believe that is what Tennesseans have wanted for a long time. That is the reason why so many Tennesseans begged Mae Beavers to run. We have ONE candidate that has proven herself on numerous occasions to stand for the Constitution, Christian values and Conservatism. She has fought for our 10th Amendment rights for decades. Mae Beavers in 2010 (long before she even considered running for Governor) was just one of 3 TN Senators that voted against RACE TO THE TOP (TN First to the Top SB7005) which gave us Common Core national standards and a lot more. Her reason was because it violated the 10th Amendment. Ms. Black was a Tennessee Senator at the same time and she voted in favor of SB7005. Ms. Beavers stood and fought for marriage between a man and a woman as stated in our TN Constitution. She fought to protect our children and all Tennesseans in the privacy of the bathroom. She has fought for open carry on numerous occasions (our God given right). She fought vehemently against the Gas Tax and other tax increases over the years. I believe we need to have a Governor that has been in TN fighting for TN values. Mae Beavers was the only TN Senator that would stand up and sponsor a real bill to repeal Common Core in 2015 and the bill was defeated and a fake Spivey/Bell/Haslam bill which was passed gave us nothing more than a rebranded set of Common Core aligned standards. I believe all of the things Mae Beavers has fought for over the years is what she will fight for if elected Governor. In my opinion Mark West made a bad decision. I believe he has compromised on what he has stood for over the years. That is not an attack. It is what I believe. Mr. West told me once that he agreed that Mae had a good record but that she was not a viable candidate. I believe voting for the RIGHT candidate is more important that looking at who is viable. It is WE THE PEOPLE that make a candidate viable. I believe our current President (that Mr. West vehemently opposed) is a good example of what can happen when people vote their conscience and not for who they believe is viable. Mr. West says he talked to candidates before making his decision but didn’t even have respect enough for a true patriot like Mae Beavers to sit down with her and talk about her candidacy.
    The issue of Volunteer State news….just because you don’t know who is behind it does not make it fake news. Believe me there is more truth coming from VS than most other news outlets in the state of TN. That piece I attached to my FB post had a lot more on it about Diane Black than just the issue of Planned Parenthood.

  2. Jim Vesper

    I would like to have Mark spend a few minutes and reflect on why Ms. Black has a Conservative Review Scorecard grade of D (68%). We know and trust who writes for this organization, if that truly is the litmus test Mark wishes to impose on what constitutes credible news. Lou Ann K. has some well known problems with Diane’s way of competing in an open campaign. She in not the best choice for having conservative leadership in Nashville, Mae Beavers is.

    1. Karen Bracken

      According to Mr. West Mae Beavers is not a viable candidate. I guess he has a crystal ball that can predict the outcome of elections.

  3. Dave Vance

    Let me see if I’ve got this straight. Diane Black as the Budget Chair includes funding for Planned Parenthood in the budget apparently without any restrictions on a abortion yet since she sponsors and has voted to defund Planned Parenthood she is Pro Life? Sounds hypocritical to me. What is her reason for including the funding in the budget? If you read the article on Volunteer State it talks about her including the funding in the budget. How is that not a legitimate complaint against someone who claims to be Pro Life? If there is a good reason let’s hear it but I can’t imagine what it would be.
    And are anonymous sites synonymous with fake news? Is CNN or the Tennessean credible just because we know who they are? So it can’t be true if you don’t know who the author is? What a crock! And what evidence has Mark West given to substantiate his claim that Volunteer State is a “fake news” site.
    Most people I know in the Tea Party/Liberty movement (and I know many of the same ones that Mark does) read the Tennessee Star, Brietbart, and numerous other sites despite Mark’s assertion that “The tea party/liberty movement relies heavily on such garbage to advance their beliefs and when they do, they do themselves, the movement and their community a great disservice”. So I guess the rest of us are all gullible sheep except for Mark. Now we know what Mark really thinks about most of us!
    Many of us also read Rocky Top Politics. But since we don’t know who they are they can’t be telling the truth according to Mark. My guess is his response will be largely viewed as less credible than Volunteer State Report.

  4. John Bumpus

    I wish that these East Tennessee political ‘leaders’ like Mark West, who are supposedly conservative, would stop trying to foist off on us RINOs like Diane Black.