War drums continue to beat within the Rappahannock News Comment columns, in-sync with leftist babble and tainted with disdain toward those who express viewpoints unlike their own. Unfortunately, some submit letters of protestation that appear to distort truth, or lack precise knowledge of it, as demonstrated in the paper’s Feb. 23 edition. The cluster of indignant opines reflected everything from Congressman Tom Garrett making wild claims — in the thousands — to courts across the country who have blocked President Trump’s immigration ban. Neither time nor space dictate rebuttal to these irresolute and off-the-wall claims, but prudence demands truth and revelation of some faulty or misleading information.
In one letter, a group of sixteen concerned citizens related their displeasure with Rep. Garrett’s Facebook town meetings because many members of his constituency do not have adequate Internet access. They compel him to work face to face, in real live town hall meetings . . . because “it is part of [his] responsibility . . . to listen and represent us.” In a matter of months, Facebook has become extinct, lost its purpose and faded into antiquity as the citizenry now fully engages in face-to-face communication. Such rapid change! Those who do not use social media may be unfamiliar with newly formed groups who are self-named Indivisibles. Members are primarily left leaning and share a common, deep-rooted “dislike” for President Trump (and his followers). They prefer face-to-face venues so its members can deny legitimacy with their shout-down and drown-out weaponry during town hall meetings.
Another op-ed, written by Mary-Sherman Willis, contained a cornucopia of accusations along with a persona non grata visualization of Rep. Garrett as he conducted a Facebook meeting with the U.S. Capitol in the background. Although we continue to be a nation “endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights” the choice of where or how a town meeting is held, depends largely on the politician. To my knowledge, there are no rules that mandate a designated protocol. However, if you publicize a legislator’s voting record, accuracy should be of paramount importance. In this regard, I was shocked when Ms. Willis wrote:
“Will he [Rep. Tom Garrett] protect our natural environment — unlike his recent vote against clean streams (HR 7)?”
For the record (and for reader edification): H.R. 7 is the No Taxpayer Funding for Abortion and Abortion Insurance Full Disclosure Act of 2017. It has nothing to do with voting against clean streams.
In a third op-ed, Wendy Murdoch charged Rep. Garrett with a “lack of willingness to address questions sent to him . . . and avoidance of real answers.” In response to these accusations, I submit the following:
“Less than two months into the 115th Congress, Fifth District Congressman Tom Garrett has held two open Facebook live town halls and one Facebook live town hall specifically for local elected officials.
With 21 counties, two major cities, over 700,000 constituents, and a geographical area reaching 10,000 plus square miles comprising the Fifth District, the online platform has proven to be the most inclusive way to engage constituents throughout the district as those three events alone have reached 92,500 people with 26,400 views and over 9,000 comments.
To build on this outreach, Congressman Tom Garrett released the following dates for two additional in-person town halls. One was in Charlottesville on March 13; the second in Moneta on May 9 at 7 p.m.
The Feb. 23 commentaries fail in many ways to address serious issues, and one has to wonder how Facebook town halls took precedence over serious issues that, in the past, affected national security. For instance, where was the outrage when billions of dollars were sent to a terrorist nation? Who wrote op-eds expressing their shock and indignation when Americans, including our own ambassador, were sent overseas and their facility burned by terrorists, their cries for help ignored, and then a cover-up story was invented to shield the guilty?
Did it have something to do with the upcoming election? Or, where was the outrage when the secretary of state secretly created a home-brewed server that she (and others) used to conduct business of the country, some categorized as secret? And then this S/S allegedly lied under oath when questioned about it! Where was the outrage when President Obama nearly doubled the number of 2017 refugees with full knowledge that “more than three dozen suspected militants who impersonated migrants have been arrested . . . while planning or carrying out acts of terrorism . . . [including] at least seven directly tied to the bloody attacks in Paris and Brussels.”
If the reader has real concern for all levels of government: county, state and national, I encourage you to begin at the county level by reading the front page of the Feb. 23 Rappahannock News. John McCaslin’s article is fact-based — reported fairly — and remember, the grassroots is the best place to begin if you want to change your world.
Evelyn M. Kerr
Chairman, Rappahannock County Republican Committee