The Allegheny County Democratic Committee doesn’t tolerate any kind of talk that might offend the stereotypes that form the foundation of its politics.
Just ask Mark Salvas, the committee’s former executive director who was abruptly forced to resign this week for posts he and his wife made on Facebook.
“I’m not sure how to comprehend what he has up there, but it’s insensitive to African Americans,” committee member and state Rep. Ed Gainey told the Tribune-Review. “The action was wrong. The action was insensitive, and for that he had to go. African Americans are the backbone of the Democratic Party, and you can’t have someone at the head of your party not understanding the backbone of the party.”
“We have a zero tolerance for sexual harassment or racism of any kind,” state Democratic Committee Chairwoman Nancy Mills said. “I think Chairwoman Kelly made the right decision once she was aware of the issues.”
Those “issues” involve the apparently egregious offenses of supporting the American flag, and an officer involved in a shooting whom the Salvas’ know “like family.”
Salas pointed to two posts, one he made a year ago and another by his wife in July, as the reason for his ouster, KDKA reports.
Salvas, a former Marine and Gulf War veteran, posted a profile picture of himself and his wife with the caption “I stand for the flag, I kneel at the cross.” His wife reached out to ask for support for the family of East Pittsburgh police officer Michael Rosfeld, a white officer charged in the fatal shooting of 17-year-old Antwon Rose II, who is black.
“What happened to Antwon Rose was a tragedy. I don’t think anybody doubts that. I think we all agree on that. A young man lost his life and that’s a shame,” Salvas told the television station. “Officer Rosfeld, Michael Rosefeld, is as close to me and my family as anyone could be. I have known that young man since he was literally 3-years-old. They are family to us.
“They have been there for us in hard times, and my wife and I felt it was necessary to be there for them because family backs family,” Salvas said.
Salvas previously served as executive director years ago, and was rehired in September after two failed bids for local council races in recent years.
“I was asked by the chair of the Allegheny County Democratic Party to resign my position due to the controversy that was taking place on social media, and I did,” he said. “It’s never easy when people you have never met accuse you of things and call you names, and you’ve never met them.”
Haters aside, the former military man said he’s not apologizing for his patriotism.
“I’m not ashamed of my patriotism, not one bit,” he said. “I fought for this country. I think I have a right to have a voice and be patriotic.”
Unlike his Democratic Party overlords, Salvas recognizes that free expression isn’t restricted to his personal viewpoint. NFL players taking a knee, he said, “that’s part of what the flag stands for.
“It gives them the right to do that.”
“There’s a place for all of us and all of our views,” Salvas said.