The Libertarian Party Vice Chair, Arvin Vohra just can’t stop.
Cannot stop, will not stop. Starting on May 10th, our Vice Chair has gone on a three day non-stop TIRADE beginning with our military members, onto teachers and students, and then back around to military members.
We must recognize the right of people to have the freedom to express their views and opinions.
That being said, he needs to realize there is no protection from the repercussions of the actions that you choose to take. It’s common sense to state that this is bad for social media marketing and outreach, to have our leadership degrading people. It is hurtful to outsiders that fall into these categories and might see his views, take them personally, and decide not to join the LP because of it.
On social media, people are expressing their displeasure over the recent controversy by leaving the Libertarian Party.
It wasn’t his ideas per se that were getting the backlash, but how they were presented. You simply don’t call military service members purposeful murderers, neglectful, or accessories to murder when you don’t know every single service member or their intentions when signing up for the military.
Categorizing people into boxes is never a good thing because we are all different. Some of the leaders of the Libertarian Party were or are still military members, and multiple members have expressed their concern with his crass, verbal assaults. In marketing, you get no take me backs. You can’t un-ring a bell.
As of today, there was a petition circulating to remove him as Vice Chair.
C Michael Pickens, Chief Empowerment Officer at Libertarian Leadership, offered some advice, “When I talk about being persistent, I don’t mean to double down on your screw-ups.”
Today, May 13th, our Region 8 Alternate, Larry Sharpe decided that he would like to address the situation in a formal open letter since he had previously addressed it in response to Arvin’s Facebook post and also through a live stream.
In Larry Sharpe’s open letter, he discusses the reasons why he feels that Arvin’s tirade is unnecessary and unprofessional. Larry Sharpe ends the open letter with these final thoughts:
Please, Arvin, if you recognize this was an error, then just apologize for the insult with humility, with NO additional commentary on that subject, and we can move on. All good. Let’s just heal.
If you feel like either you should not apologize or that you cannot monitor your tone or words and want to just speak your mind, then please choose to step down from LP leadership and be free of this chain.
I sincerely hope you choose the former. Thank you.
LNC Region 8 Alternate
Proud USMC Veteran 1985-93
As the evening of May 13th progressed and all requests, demands, and pleas from the LP members to our Vice Chair went ignored, I made a shout out on Facebook to Sam Goldstein, an at-large member of the LNC, who was unavailable for a comment.
I also reached out to our at-large member Daniel Hayes who acknowledged the situation and the view held by many people that this was upsetting. Hayes also stated that he had did not follow the situation since he has been very busy attending the Glenn Beck show with our Chair Nicholas Sarwark, working on legislation, working with the social media process review committee, and other Libertarian outreach that demanded his time.
Later in the evening came a snarky response to a Texas Libertarian Party State Membership Coordinator stating “it’s not that hard to knock someone off the LNC, BTW. You just need your region rep or someone to put forth such a motion.”
Then, a post from Arvin Vohra that stated “As requested: My views are my views, not the only LP views,” and “Others in the LP leadership have very different interpretations.”
I attribute his half-baked apology to nothing more than finally addressing the issue because of Larry Sharpe, a well-respected leadership member, took the time out of his weekend to write his open letter calling for an apology or a resignation. It seems he chose the former, but it may be too late.
See the call for his removal below:
“To: Whitney Bilyeu, Region 7 Representative
CC: John Wilford, Libertarian Party Texas State Chair
Dear Ms. Bilyeu:
As a new County Chair just starting out in the State of Texas, I am mindful of the need for the Libertarian Party to have good group morale, camaraderie, and a sense of purpose. I also believe that the party needs good publicity–what some have called ‘marketing’—and a good image to attract likely voters in the future.
I volunteered to become a County Chair with the personal goal of supporting the party, promoting its future electability, and, specifically, to promote positive outreach in central Texas to the local community. As a secondary goal, I wish to help spread an aura of good feeling between members of the Libertarian Party. We need greater camaraderie, in my opinion, and more Team Spirit.
My goals as a Libertarian volunteer and coordinator are now being threatened by the social media antics of Arvin Vohra, Vice Chair of the National Party. He has made a public spectacle of himself, denouncing US veterans and active duty servicemen and women by calling them “murderers.” Mr. Vohra has also publicly denounced the non-combatant support staffers in the military as “accessories to murder.”
Some of these comments have already been published in Internet news media, and if he persists in these negative characterizations, will almost certainly receive greater coverage. Consider the overblown negative coverage Mr. Johnson received in Internet and electronic media for his very mild gaffe about “Aleppo.” By contrast, this is the Vice Chair of our party attacking military veterans and people who serve.
Our image as a party is being damaged by this inflammatory rhetoric, and a split is developing in the Libertarian Party rank and file, with many people threatening to leave the party or expressing the fact that they are already leaving—or have left.
Additionally, a key voting block for the Libertarian Party in Texas and Region 7, which has very large numbers of military veterans, soldiers, and their families, will be potentially alienated by Mr. Vohra’s comments, or certainly will be if and when they read them.
I must personally call for a motion for the removal of Mr. Vohra from his position immediately, in the interests of the good image of the Libertarian Party, and its future.
In regard to Mr. Vohra:
– Libertarian candidates in Texas, Region 7, and throughout the United States, deserve better representation.
– Libertarian chairs, coordinators, and hard-working volunteers deserve better representation.
– Mr. Nicholas Sarwark deserves better and more competent assistance and representation.
I humbly request a motion be placed for Arvin Vohra be removed from his position as an officer of the national Libertarian Party, for the good of all concerned.
Acting Hill County Chair Texas”
When I asked Paul Tuma why he wanted to draft this letter/petition asking for the removal of the Vice Chair, he stated as follows:
“I have no animosity toward him, nor do I really know him well, but I see the damage he has done to the party’s image. He’s wrecked his own image, and if the remarks are allowed to stand, he’s wrecking ours as well. The chickens haven’t even really come to roost yet on the past weeks’ commentary. The bad publicity is going to sting.
There is a lot of prevarication going on. It’s not about being ‘anti-war,’ or not. I know of no pro-war Libertarians. We all believe in world peace, and most of us are complete non-interventionists. That’s not the issue. The labeling of soldiers and vets as “murderers” is the issue. It’s also completely anathema to the sort of message that any political party official should broadcasting.
It’s also political suicide in the sun belt and south of the Mason-Dixon line. But that’s not enough..it’s also just wrong, and a black eye to the party.
‘Arvin’s social media activity cannot be regarded as private space,’ any more than our current President’s Tweets are private space. He is a national party official. He must follow some sort of decorum and keep in mind the hundreds and thousands of Libertarian activists, chairs, and delegates whose activities will be affected by a negative change in the party’s image.
Mr. Vohra ultimately needs to be removed from his position in the national leadership–and the sooner, the better. We really have no choice at this stage; it’s for the good of the party. The time has already passed for any apology to make a difference. We cannot allow his condemnation of veterans and active duty military servicemen and women as “murderers” to stand or be seen in as party philosophy in the public eye. It is both an internal party problem and a publicity problem.
For people who want to characterize controversy over Vohra’s public statements as drama or “no big deal,” I would invite them to consider the Reform Party. It once had an enigmatic leader and presidential candidate who received 19% of the official vote. It is now essentially a dead letter office–I think they still have a website, but the party is more or less defunct. In 2016, the Reform Party candidate received .02% of the vote…around 33,000 votes total.
The highest percentage of the vote our party ever received was roughly 3.5 percent, last year. The Reform Party collapsed from within. That can happen to our party, and if controversy like this continues, there will be a mass exodus like a brushfire. It’s already begun to spark and flare up.”