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Letter – Minority caused issues in Buckingham meeting

To the Editor:

I wanted to bring full light to an article written by The Herald, “‘Despite protests, masks approved.”

First, I want to comment on the quote that “increase discord (is) creating disconnect between public bodies and the community members they serve.”

I am a strong proponent for civil discourse, with a focus in civil. And I think a militant approach causes harm. Yet, this article focuses solely on the small number of persons who attended the August 3 meeting (and other like meetings throughout the state and country) who spoke with that militant tone and tenor, yet, it completely obfuscates the vast majority who focused on facts, and did so with passion yet civility.

I also feel there was a vast misrepresentation of the reaction after the vote on COVID restrictions. Were some angered? Yes. Did some get up and leave? Yes. Was there a storming out and arguing? Not even remotely. And what yelling did occur was severely short lived.

Next, let us ask why some did not yield when their three minutes was up. Our “betters” on Capitol Hill continue talking past their time, so they model their actions from what they see in D.C. Also, the public has such a short time to interact with the board, three minutes each, and they have a lot to say because we are told by the board to email them, but rarely get a response. So yes, persons have a lot to say.

Now, let’s talk about why passions are inflamed.

What is the one thing that every parent, grandparent and guardian are passionate about? Their children/grandchildren/charges. With the onslaught of competing information, zero limiting principles and government agencies overstepping their boundaries into areas for which other agencies are to be in control, including parental choice, people are left in a whirl.

Another reason passions are inflamed is the lack of transparency from our local government boards. While things such as policies should not be on a county-wide ballot (as some have suggested) conversations by elected officials with their constituents, especially hot buttons issues like COVID, transgender bathroom and CRT (critical race theory), could help diffuse the animosity, but they are not happening.

Sadly, this article places all of the blame on the public and absolves our elected officials completely.

Yes, militant and out right inflammatory talk needs to stop from the public. However, if these boards acted in the light of day instead of cloak and dagger, this issue would be severely lessened.

If the board communicated with the public, instead of making us talk at one another, this issue would be severely lessened. If the board held thoughtful, substantive debates, this issue would be severely lessened. So to all of this I quote, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people to peaceably assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances.”

The First Amendment is what this country has been built upon. The right of the people to speak and to peaceably assemble, as the meeting was for all intents and purposes (even if I wholeheartedly disagree with some’s antics). As well as, to petition for redress, which is what all those voices were doing on the third.

Instead, this article seems to seek the community members to sit back and be quiet and allow the “experts” to run our lives with us having no say in it.

That is not how we were founded, nor is it an America, Virginia nor a Buckingham I want to live in. If that’s the case, nor would it be where or how I want to raise my children.

Paul Anderson

New Canton