Child’s play

Rappahannock News - - COMMENT. -

The re­but­tal of­fered by the Rap­pa­han­nock Cit­i­zens for Com­mu­nity Em­pow­er­ment Board of Direc­tors (RCCE) for re­fus­ing to dis­close the names of its mem­bers and donors rests on three weak ex­pla­na­tions of­ten em­ployed by chil­dren.

First, RCCE ar­gues they don’t have to re­lease the names of their donors be­cause other or­ga­ni­za­tions don’t (in the case of the Foothills Fo­rum, a point re­futed by the pa­per’s ed­i­tors). Re­minds me of that old child­hood de­fense, “Well, Mom, every­one else was do­ing it.” No sane par­ent ever bought that line of ar­gu­ment, and in RCCE’s case, we shouldn’t ei­ther.

The sec­ond rea­son given by RCCE for not re­leas­ing their list of con­trib­u­tors is that it would sub­ject their bene­fac­tors to un­sub­stan­ti­ated “per­sonal at­tacks,” which some­how would fuel a blame game be­ing waged against the RCCE. Re­ally? Nowhere in the let­ter call­ing for dis­clo­sure is there even a hint that this was or is the sort of end game be­ing con­tem­plated or sanc­tioned. And it’s pure fic­tion for the RCCE to sug­gest such. The only game be­ing played around here is, “I’ve Got a Se­cret,” and the only play­ers are the RCCE. Claim­ing shad­owy in­ten­tions and sin­is­ter mo­tives liv­ing in­side the minds of any­one who dares chal­lenge the RCCE’s se­crecy is child­ish pop­py­cock.

Fi­nally, RCCE states that those who signed the let­ter are op­posed to the “chang­ing lo­cal pol­i­tics.” This is the kind of a ruse a child would use to di­vert at­ten­tion away from their ac­tions. Not buy­ing it.

RCCE’s rea­son­ing to avoid full dis­clo­sure doesn’t pass the parental sniff test. It is disin­gen­u­ous for an or­ga­ni­za­tion whose stated mis­sion is to in­crease knowl­edge and un­der­stand­ing of state and fed­eral laws and whose pri­mary goal is to pro­mote “open and hon­est” gov­ern­ment to hide be­hind these kinds of child-like ex­cuses. Ap­par­ently, trans­parency only ap­plies to the RCCE’s gov­ern­men­tal tar­gets.

Clearly, the RCCE is en­ti­tled to keep their books closed to the kind of sun­shine they so de­voutly es­pouse. But why should any­one (other than their donors) lis­ten to, sup­port or take se­ri­ously an or­ga­ni­za­tion pur­port­edly com­mit­ted to open and trans­par­ent gov­ern­ment when the or­ga­ni­za­tion can’t or won’t ap­ply the same stan­dards and rules to it­self?

Time for the RCCE to put an end to their per­plex­ingly weak, de­fen­sive and ado­les­cent posture and di­vulge their donor list so all can make fact-based judg­ments about the group. I sug­gest that the RCCE play an old game from their child­hood: It’s called, “Show and Tell.” MIKE FERRELL Amissville

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