The Three Wise Monkeys are a symbol of “turning a blind eye” to impropriety. It’s unfortunate that some in our community believe we should not publicly question or criticize our government. Yet they criticize a Culpeper newspaper for covering our County and providing a different point of view. Some propose to run a full-page ad in Rapp News titled “Let’s stop the nonsense” that seeks to silence those citizens that speak out about their government and limit citizens’ legal rights to hold their government accountable.
In a Letter to the Editor in the Culpeper Star-Exponent, Chuck Jackson’s reporting and his journalistic credibility are criticized, without a single example of an incorrect fact or statement. Instead, the criticism is based on what is perceived as his association with some of the out-spoken citizens of our County.
One of the biggest challenges we have in our County, is the lack of information available to our citizens. I understand the limited resources of Rapp News, so why would anyone criticize more media resources brought to the situation? How can we come together to solve anything if we don’t have all the information, and refuse to listen to the opposing points of view?
Too much of our County debate is based on which group you get associated with. The “us” vs “them” phrase and “which boat are you in” question are used far too frequently to discredit opposing points of view. Until more people stop the personal attacks and reach out to understand, I fear we are stuck in this adolescent clique drama.
In our County’s form of government, without an elected Executive, citizen involvement and oversight are critical to prevent behind the scenes operations and control the influence of those closely connected to legislators. Why are some so opposed to open government and offended by opposing points of view? Are those not founding principles of our republic? Isn’t that how we will find solutions to the complex issues we face?
Some even criticize Rappahannock Citizens for Community Empowerment, an organization established as a local government “watchdog”. Yet it was RCCE that obtained the Brenda Garton’s excellent exit report and made in publicly available. It is RCCE that helps provide videos of County meetings for those that can’t attend. It is RCCE that provides easy access to valuable government resources.
I would gladly embrace the opportunity to have a fact-based face-to-face discussion with anybody. I would appreciate if those criticizing me, would just take the time to reach out to me directly and get their information first hand. But what goes on here in Rappahannock County is more like the telephone game, where the story at the end of the rumor circuit bears no resemblance to what actually happened or what was actually said.