Build­ing barns

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT -

Re­gard­ing Ron Maxwell’s dis­course “The Fever,” I agree with him in large part con­cern­ing the bash­ing of mon­u­ments. It is an ugly busi­ness that in­flames pas­sions and pro­duces lit­tle of sub­stance. Nor would I ques­tion his ap­pli­ca­tion of Je­sus’ words: “Let he who is with­out sin cast the first stone.”

If I de­mand moral pu­rity of my neigh­bor’s hero, I might find my own hero com­ing up short by the same yard­stick. Al­though Gen­eral Lee and com­pany un­ques­tion­ably fought to de­fend a mon­strous evil, I would humbly beg all of Vir­ginia’s cit­i­zens, es­pe­cially African-Amer­i­cans, to search their hearts for the gen­eros­ity to say, like Je­sus: “Nei­ther do I con­demn thee. Go and sin no more.”

Now let’s talk pol­i­tics. When Mr. Maxwell as­serts that vot­ing Repub­li­can is the an­ti­dote for the ig­no­rance and ex­trem­ism that cur­rently gnaws at our body politic, well sir, I would call that a case of “the pot call­ing the ket­tle black.” Let us ex­am­ine the vil­lains whom the au­thor dredges up from his­tory and by some cre­ative leap of the imag­i­na­tion links to the Demo­cratic can­di­date for gover­nor. Which whacky char­ac­ters on to­day’s po­lit­i­cal land­scape most closely re­sem­ble these club­wield­ing bar­bar­ians?

The Tal­iban? What party has em­braced an in­tol­er­ant fa­nat­i­cal re­li­gion­ist the likes of Judge Roy Moore of Alabama? The Cul­tural Rev­o­lu­tion in China? What ad­min­is­tra­tion in Amer­i­can his­tory has ever had the ef­fron­tery to gag the con­clu­sions of its own sci­en­tists, as has the wreck­ing crew ap­pointed by Pres­i­dent Trump to “ad­min­is­ter” the EPA? And the Ja­cobins? Please. When in liv­ing mem­ory has a po­lit­i­cal hatch­et­man like Stephen Ban­non — a Robe­spierre from the lu­natic fringe who now calls for mod­er­ates of both par­ties to be hauled un­der his guil­lo­tine — been em­braced by the pres­i­dent him­self. Not since Joseph McCarthy (an­other Repub­li­can) has there been such a reign of ter­ror in the halls of Congress. And please tell me, my Repub­li­can coun­try­men, who are these so-called “elites” for whose heads you clamor? Are they not the tens of thou­sands of hard­work­ing men and women (many of them our Rap­pa­han­nock neigh­bors) who get up ev­ery morn­ing, grab their brief­cases, and set out to gov­ern a mod­ern na­tion state of three hun­dred mil­lion peo­ple who are eco­nom­i­cally, cul­tur­ally and re­li­giously di­verse? In the words of a Demo­crat: “Any jack­ass can kick down a barn, but it takes a car­pen­ter to build one.”

SCOTT MCBRIDE Sper­ryville

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