Chapter 16 My Political Journeys
I am Dwight Albert Sharpe is a fifth-generation Texan, born 1939 in Ballinger, Runnels County, Texas. My family has been in Texas since 1841. I have lived in Texas all my life, except for 20 years in Louisiana (1962-72) and Missouri (1972-82).
My Republican connections have been in and around me all my life. On my first birthday, June 24, 1940, the Republican National Convention, in Cleveland, Ohio, approved a plank in its platform calling for racial integration of the armed forces: "Discrimination in the civil service, the army, navy, and all other branches of the Government must cease." For the next eight years, Democrat Party presidents Franklin Delano Roosevelt (a cousin) and Harry S. Truman refused that position. Not until 1948 did President Truman finally comply with the Republicans' repeated demands for racial justice.
Source: Michael Zak, "Back to the Basics for the Republican Party."
That 1940 Republican National Convention took place at the Public Auditorium of Cleveland, Ohio, which was just less than 50 miles from the home of my Sharpe family east of Cleveland, located in Portage County, city of Ravenna on the day of my birth. That fact is one of numerous political elements that have related me to the ideas of the Republican Party.
My service is on or has been on all four levels of government. Appointment was made in September 2012 to the Selective Service Board in North Texas, a Federal agency. I was an Official of the State of Texas, having been appointed by the Governor and confirmed by the Texas Senate to serve, for two 3-year terms, on one of the State professional licensing boards. My county official responsibility has been as Chairman of the Wise County Ballot Board, which oversees elections managed by our Wise County Elections Administration. _I am a city official serving as Chair of the Historical Commission of the City of Aurora, my city of resident in Wise County. These positions mostly are unpaid voluntary activities. The county elections responsibilities pay election clerk rates for just a few hours each election.
Political service for the Republican Party of Texas dates back to 1984 where in Dallas County I served as a Precinct Chairman and Election Judge in University Park and later in North Dallas. Both Suzanne and I have been elected delegates to the Texas State Republican Party Convention every even-numbered year since 1988, except for 1990, when we were in Europe and in 2010 when I was in surgery.
Earlier Republican political assignments began in Saint Louis County, Missouri as an Election Judge (beginning in 1974), and as Hadley Township Convention Chairman. I was elected a delegate to the 1978 and 1980 Missouri State Republican Conventions, representing St. Louis County. In 1966, while a resident of New Orleans, Orleans Parish, Louisiana, the local voting precinct poll was in the automobile garage of our home.
In 1999, Mr. & Mrs. Sharpe moved to Aurora, Wise County, Texas. In 2000, I was elected Chairman of the Wise County Republican Party, and again in 2002, 2004 and in 2006. In 2008, I stepped down to encourage new and younger leadership in the local party, which was a successful transition.
Service has been as Delegation Chairman for Wise County at the State Republican Conventions and Chairman or other leadership positions in the Convention State Senate Caucus meetings, 2000 - 2012.
At the Republican State Convention June 7-9, 2012 in Fort Worth, Texas, it was an honor to be elected an Alternate Delegate from Congressional District #12 to represent Texas at the Republican National Convention in Tampa, Florida. This was the first time anyone ever was elected from Wise County to be represented at a National Republican Convention. I was present at that Convention to see the unveiling of the Clint Eastwood famous Empty Chair skit! Clint Eastwood is my 7th cousin, 3 times removed, just for the political Theory of Relativity!
My political motivation is that our nation would be returned to that phrase in the Declaration of Independence, We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. Our founders recognized that we need to acknowledge our Creator. The attempts of modernists in the past century have tried to steer us into a secular society. It is one that accomplishes good and governing without the presence of God. It has been a moral failure.
The primary composer of the Declaration of Independence was Thomas Jefferson, who was destined to become the third President of the United States. He is related to our family by being the 9th cousin, twice removed of Edward Carleton, the husband of Ellen Newton, the stepdaughter of my 6th great grand uncle, Danette Abney (born about 1712).
Our ancestor in common is Eystein Glumra Ivarsson and his wife, Aseda Rognvaldsdatter. They are President Jefferson's 27th great grandparents, whereas they are my 32nd great grandparents.
The Article I of the Constitution states, Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press. Everyone knows Congress cannot establish a religion, but that Amendment often is not read completely. Notice that Congress may not prohibit the free exercise of religion. My understanding is that means the laws cannot dictate that public expression of prayer, for example, be removed from the public arena, such as high school football games, etc.
James Madison, who later became President of the United States, took copious notes of the debates Constitutional Convention, and had much to do with fashioning the wording of the Constitution. Madison's important contribution to the overall creation of the Constitution earned him the nickname "Father of the Constitution" later in life. He is the 3rd cousin, seven times removed to me. Madison also is the 3rd cousin, seven times removed to Steve Westmoreland, my son-in-law.
Former Fort Worth Mayor Kay Granger now is our multi-term Congressional Representative. She has hosted Suzanne and me, with other friends, at her offices in Washington, D.C. several times over the years. We often are there to advocate political items, such as CongressÕ favorable treatment of the nation of Israel.
Texas Governor Rick Perry commissioned me in 2004 as an. Texas Admirals often affiliate with the Texas Navy Association, the historical educational organization promoting knowledge about the Texas Navy of the Republic of Texas 1836-1845, as well as other Texas Navy Squadrons. As of 2017, Rick Perry is the Secretary of Energy in the Cabinet of the Executive Branch of the United States.
During one of the annual Texas Navy Day official state recognitions (3rd Saturdays in September), the then Texas Land Commissioner, Jerry Patterson, gave leadership for our services. After Jerry retired from public office, he was elected President and Chairman of the Board of the Texas Navy Association, of which I am a member.
As their grandchildren broach their teenage years, the SharpeÕs have begun to take one or two of the older ones to occasional political events. This affords the opportunity for them to learn something of our government structures and political workings, being personally introduced to elected officials, etc. After attending an annual fund raiser for our Wise County Republican Party in early 2017, taking our daughter and her twin 14-year old daughters, there was a question raised by one of them, about which Tiffany, our daughter, passed on to me. The girls wondered just who were all those elected officials, what do they do, how do they relate to each other and to us! A request was made that I sit down to explain all of that.
The result was my composition of a 27-page document, structuring the political world into seven sections of understanding and functions. ItÕs highly personalized to our situation, but the document is usable for most anyone to use in explaining government to those who need understanding. Here it is!
I am a 1957 graduate of Woodrow Wilson High School in Dallas, Texas; he attended Austin College in Sherman, Texas 1957-1959 and is a 1962 BBA graduate of the University of Texas at Austin. The Ex-Students Association, the University of Texas Alumni organization has over 90,000 Life Members as of 2017. I am member #742. In 2016, he learned from their office that only 214 Life Members were still alive who joined prior to his 1963 joining.
He and his wife, Suzanne, raised two sons and a daughter. Their children are third generation graduates from the University of Texas in the family, both of their Sharpe grandparents having graduated in 1925 and in 1926. They enjoy seven grandchildren among their children, 24 great nieces and nephews and three great, great nephews (who are eighth generation Texans).
Mr. and Mrs. Sharpe are members of Eagle Mountain International Church in Fort Worth. We reside on 10 acres in Aurora, Wise County, Texas. My hobby is the pursuit of political events and genealogical history.