The following article is re-printed with minor edits, from its publication, 20 years ago, in the now defunct Conservative Washington State periodical “Why We Fight.”
Why We Fight August, 1993
LIFE INSIDE THE BIG TENT: THE GOP, RICO, AND DOTTIE ROBERTS
by Doug Parris
It hardly seems possible. Snohomish County is not just the home of the world’s largest building and a county land reform ordinance that confers more power on bureaucrats than Lenin envisioned. It is also the home of one of the nation’s most significant grass-roots political visionaries. A person who turned down appointment to a Reagan commission but will do menial tasks for a county party chairman. A populist power broker the State Republican Party Establishment is slowly learning not to ignore when they try to control the outcome of a State convention.
It’s not possible, in fact, to have a full grasp of grass roots politics in Washington State without a working understanding of Snohomish County’s most controversial political activist.
The time has come to understand Dottie Roberts.
The Dottie Roberts story brings into focus some of the hottest elements of American political conflict: the imminent capitulation of our judicial system to totalitarian forces; the media/left wing collusion to control the Republican Party; and the escalation to violence in the abortion wars.
By now the whole of the Western World must know that State Republican Chairman Ken Eikenberry has invited the “one-issue” Pro-Life movement to leave the Republican Party. His charge of “one-issue” is not an indication of his ignorance or political naivete. Eikenberry is well aware that he is targeting the guardians of conservatism on all the issues. (See: Reagan, Kemp, Dole, Robertson, DuPont, Buchanan, Novak, Buckley, Limbaugh, Dornan, Will, Sobran, Gingrich, etc., etc.) Knowing that their side is most endangered by open debate, those who have labored hard and long to purge the pro-lifers typically resort to tactics like name-calling (e.g., “one-issue, religious, far-right, extremist, slavering Android, Neanderthal, radical, reactionary fundamentalist, automaton”). This torrent of hatred, by the way, comes from the self-appointed custodians of tolerance.
Eikenberry is beginning the final phase of a purge, which is both nationally and locally a strategic collusion of the liberal media and the Republicans’ own left wing. Both in the press and in the party they rely, almost entirely, on deception. Thus they embrace absurdities like battling exclusiveness by excluding loyal members or “broadening” the party by eliminating all its issues. The vilification of Dottie Roberts has long been a necessary corollary to this minority vendetta, not just because of her stand on life, but because leaders like Dottie always make the political prostitutes look bad by comparison. She will never cease to be attacked by the likes of Poe-Pac: Jackie Matson, Veda Jellen, Louise Miller, etc.
In my opinion it was Dottie Roberts, not Jennifer Dunn, whose political gifts most qualified her to lead the Republican Party in the Reagan years. Dottie, like Reagan, draws her strength from sincerity, vision, and substantive leadership (as opposed to crafty maneuvers). The fact that an expensive State Party machine squandered Reagan’s era of leadership without electing a single conservative to statewide office was no accident and would never have happened with someone like Dottie in the position of the Party’s trust. But it is an undeniable fact of life that the children of ambition hold a perennial advantage over the children of principle. So while people barely qualified to man Dotties’ support staff ran the Party, Dottie herself spent the decade standing, almost alone, against the worst elements of the far-left.
In 1983 and ‘84 Dottie was a dominant figure not only in the Republican convention process but in demonstrations against the Everett Feminist Women’s Health Center, a notorious assembly-line abortion mill. It needs to be pointed out that these demonstrations pre-dated the concept of rescue and were entirely peaceful and legal. But the media agenda was the same then as it is now: censorship, distortion and outright lies, and, in the end, Curtis Beseda, a Dietrich Bonhoeffer-style pro-life revolutionary literally burnt the place down (on the third attempt). His case, as much as that of the abolitionists in the 19th century, illustrates the inevitability of violence when the democratic process is manipulated to exclude dissent. Succeeding events followed a blueprint that casts a shadow over America’s future.
In Feb. ‘86 the Feminists named Dottie Roberts, Mike and Bonnie Undseth, twelve other individuals and three pro-life organizations as defendants in the kind of lawsuit whose very existence is a symbol of judicial corruption.
The Feminist Center filed its civil case under the “RICO” statute that was designed only for the criminal prosecution of organized crime. This law specifies that a prosecutor must prove: 1. That a group engaged in conspiracy, and 2. That it committed at least two felonies, and 3. That the group did this with criminal goals. If you, the reader, have ever been to a meeting or planned a vacation or made an appointment you, like all Americans, are guilty of the first item: you have conspired. What is required under the RICO statute is to prove the felonious nature of the conspiracy. This, of course, was impossible, and after exhaustive deposition it was clear to the court that not one shred of evidence connected Beseda’s arson to any other defendant. The RICO requirements were absent before the trial began! Allowing the apparition of RICO to be used against any non-felon is like using arson laws to prosecute someone for lighting a cigarette. Yet District Court Judges Carolyn Dimmick and Thomas Zilli adamantly and repeatedly refused to dismiss the case! As trial judge, Zilli, in addition to suppressing important testimony, devised fifty-two pages of instructions that convinced the jury they could assess damages against someone for being committed to ending abortion! What was afoot had nothing to do with law: it was part of a long-term plan to do to the pro-life movement what Joseph Goebbels did to the Jews.
It’s obvious what political reasons a pro-abortion judge would have to prolong the persecution of pro-life leaders. Compared to accepting the act of killing innocent people in an assembly line fashion denying civil defendants due process is child’s play. But there are no legal excuses. If nothing else, the suffering of the defendants has purchased us a clear view of the dirty underworld of the courts: that we have sworn public servants willing to violate their own oath of office to take part in a scorched-earth political agenda. Unfortunately, this is far from unique. When the civil suit, Everett Feminist Women’s Health Center vs. Roberts, et al. was front-page news in Seattle, the media’s agenda was to distort the proceedings to convince the public that the defendants conspired together in the arson. In fact, every defendant except Beseda was specifically acquitted of every single allegation of illegal conduct the plaintiffs had concocted (to make the case juicier and more expensive). Nevertheless, Dottie Roberts and Sharon Codispoti were declared liable for engaging in pro-life rhetoric and nonviolent political action in opposing abortion. Acting independently, the judge ordered them to pay a quarter of a million dollars or so for exercising what they (and most Americans) thought was their right as U.S. citizens. It would be quite the same if former Gov. Dan Evans were to be found guilty of conspiracy with Ted Bundy to murder and mutilate women because Bundy worked on Evans campaign staff and the two shared liberal views on sexual morality. Dottie’s experiences provide a living example of forces that now threaten the very existence of our democracy.
We know from taped and written records that the political wing of the abortion industry, its pockets swollen with funds from the lucrative business of killing prenatal children, targeted pro-life leaders nationwide for individual financial destruction through costly civil suits and that the Roberts case was to be their prototype. The Feminists’ legal expenses were underwritten from New York City by two major liberal political organizations. Their friends in the judiciary have allowed them, in the Roberts case, to use their financial muscle to make endless unfounded accusations against, and run up horrendous legal costs for those originally charged for simply availing themselves of the right of free speech. It cost Mike and Bonnie Undseth about $200,000, and they were totally exonerated.
In the past individuals or groups who stood against a real or imagined evil in our society could petition or demonstrate, could publish or speak publicly on their point of view and even if it offended the Establishment, in America we tolerated it. If the Roberts case were allowed to stand and become precedent that would no longer be true. If the law were applied evenly any organization or entity with the funds to pursue protracted litigation would be more than capable of destroying vocal opposition by showing it to be organized–and therefore conspiracy. South African investors forced out during apartheid could show that protestors conspired to hurt their profits. Company managements could easily show that Union picketers conspired to hurt their business. Every victim of Greenpeace could show conspiracy! (Perhaps that is why the case has been awaiting a decision on appeal in the notorious 9th Fed. Dist. Court for almost FOUR years.) But before you get excited about the backlash consider the evolution of the modern American Judiciary No provision of the Constitution, no law or evidence of legislative intent, certainly nothing as “insignificant” as a legal precedent has restrained liberal judges’ propensity to legislate from the bench. Worse, the application of accepted law has become politically selective. Pro-life demonstrators have discovered with increasing frequency that the protections of American law don’t apply to them. Just ask the victims of Police torture in Connecticut.
We appear to be headed to the routine denial of Constitutional rights to any who defend American liberty and the simultaneous refusal to apply the same principles to those who attack it. This despotism has been in full operation against the pro-life movement for most of a decade. Its cover-up by the press precludes the ordinary operation of democracy. The only apparent vulnerability the autocrats have is to grass-roots leadership. They know it. The clear intent to destroy effective pro-life political leadership runs, unbroken, from the bloody tables of our neighborhood Auschwitz’s through NOW, Planned Parenthood, the courts, and Goebbels Media to the policy statements of Ken Eikenbery
No less a figure than Chief Justice of the Supreme Court, William Rehnquist has labeled civil RICO as one of the worst laws in US history. Perhaps Dottie Roberts was once again prophetic when she said “Civil RICO is to justice what AIDS is to medicine.” Since 1986 literally thousands of RICO cases have been filed and it is but the tip of the iceberg.
If the Roberts case is upheld, history will record that on June 15, 1790 the States adopted, and on August 11, 1989 Judge Thomas Zilli’s Federal District Court effectively repealed the First Amendment to the Constitution of the United States.
Updates: Since the above article was written much has transpired. Dottie and her husband Hal retired to Kansas shortly thereafter.
In 1994 I sent her updates on that year’s State Republican Convention addressed to:
… and signed “the Scarecrow.”
I chronicled how the great and powerful Wilbur of Oz (fresh from his migration to the left in ’92) presided, for the first time, over that State Convention from a towering podium and how State Chair Eikenberry improperly ejected an anti-gay rights initiative organization from their paid Convention booth for his private political reasons.
The following year, Circuit Judges HUG, NOONAN, and THOMPSON, of the United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, on August 17, 1995, reversed Judge Zilli’s decision. The late Doug Smith, former White House aide (targeted by the GOP Left for opposing Slade Gorton for the 1988 Senate nomination) was one attorney in Dottie’s defense.
Dottie just could not resist one last foray into politics, even while urging me to escape the Left Coast to go to “real America” (Fly-over country, clinging to God and guns). She engineered a campaign that made her mayor of Cawker City, Kansas.
During the course of her leadership in Washington State she became a historic figure, changed the course of more than one State GOP Convention, and mentored a generation of Pro-Life and conservative activists that dominated the grassroots for almost three decades (without once taking the State Republican Chairmanship).
The Reagan Wing is proud to have her occasional comments, here, on our articles and to have seen the mantle of power she wore throughout the eighties and into the nineties. When the conventions began she needed no title to confer authority – she instinctively KNEW what to do and how to make it happen.