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Medina County Democrats, Republicans spar over screening of Dinesh D’Souza movie

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MEDINA — Two Republican officeholders reject a call for their resignations from the Medina County Democratic Party.

County Democratic Party Chair John Welker said comments by county Clerk of Courts David Wadsworth and Lafayette Township Trustee Lynda Bowers in a New York Times article about the screening of the documentary “Death of a Nation” by Dinesh D’Souza, and Bowers’ role in organizing the event as a fundraiser for the Medina County Republican Women, are why the pair should step down.

“If you read in the release, they take an oath of office and basically the expectation is that they be non-biased … ,” Welker said. “Mr. Wadsworth and Ms. Bowers have demonstrated that they are incapable of discharging their duties impartially based on their support of this event and stated bias.”

“Mr. D’Souza is known for his radical views and his political science fiction,” the Democratic Party news release says. “His latest film likens Mr. (Donald) Trump to Abraham Lincoln. Critics have proclaimed this film as a revisionist take on history and modern politics.”

D’Souza was pardoned by Trump this year after pleading guilty in 2014 to violating federal campaign finance laws.

Bowers and Wadsworth said Monday they were not aware of the statement issued by the county Democratic Party and its request they resign from office until they were contacted by The Gazette.

Bowers said a reporter from the Times attended the Aug. 1 screening of the documentary. The article was published Friday with the headline: “A New Film Compares Democrats to Nazis and Trump to Lincoln. At this screening, It was a Hit.”

Bowers said the article’s headline was nothing more than click bait for online views.

“To casually compare others with Nazis is an egregious disrespect to those that suffered and died at their hands. Shame on them for doing that,” she said.

Bowers said the film compared the anger that was seen in the United States after Abraham Lincoln was elected president in 1860 to the feelings following the 2016 election of Donald Trump.

“There are points of view expressed in the film that are not necessarily objective and parts of the film outline what led to the rise of the Nazis and the devastating effects of their policies and practices,” she said.

“It does not compare Democrats to Nazis as the New York Times headline would lead readers to believe.”

Topics from the conversation that immediately followed the film included the importance of teaching accurate history, fostering a more respectful environment, the need for more political discourse and taking personal politics out of the discussion, she said.

Wadsworth said he attended the screening with an open mind and for respectful political dialogue.

“I think it is ridiculous, the fact that I attended a screening of a movie that has been playing time and time again for weeks,” Wadsworth said. “Why does that make me impartial?”

Wadsworth, who was quoted in the article saying, “This is the real history of the Democratic Party. … People don’t give us credit, as Republicans, for not being the racist ones,” said the article and headline are incendiary.

“Bottom line is that a New York Times reporter came into town probably with a preconceived notion of what he wanted to write,” he asserted.

Wadsworth said county residents get along with each other, and were not accurately portrayed in the article.

“We run a very impartial, nonpartisan courthouse here, and we all get along just fine,” he said.

Bowers said the film screening at Regal Medina Stadium 16 was open to anyone who wished to attend, including the Times reporter, and other organizations had the opportunity to host their own screening.

She listed the event on Eventbrite.

“The article was to bait,” she asserted. “That’s what it was for. It was to bait, and unfortunately some folks took the bait,” she said.

Bowers said she did not intend to bash the reporter, because she did not know what changes may have been made to the article by an editor at the Times before it was published.

“Seriously, when you boil this down and drill it down to what it was, a group of people went and watched a movie and then talked about what it means,” Bowers said.

Contact reporter Nathan Havenner at (330) 721-4050 or nhavenner@medina-gazette.com.


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