The miscreants who showed up at this week’s evening session of the Board of County Supervisors this week in order to pursue their personal vendetta against a fellow county resident demanded statements from the county supervisors. They failed to notice that one of them had already provided a statement which he read during the afternoon session, which if they had bothered to read it might have inspired them to pursue a more responsible course of action. What Brentsville Supervisor Wally Covington wrote on his matter is as well written and reasoned a statement as the board has ever made, and should be sufficient to end this sordid affair.
STATEMENT OF W.S. WALLY COVINGTON, III
SUPERVISOR, BRENTSVILLE DISTRICT
September 23, 2008
I am very disquieted over the recent public discourse over whether or not a citizen is qualified to serve as an appointee of this body on behalf of Prince William County based solely upon a transcript of words, whether written or spoken. Freedom of speech is guaranteed by the Bill of Rights. A forum in which to discuss ideas, however radically perceived by opposing viewpoints, is also guaranteed by our U.S. Constitution.
At pivotal points in our nation’s history – the Revolution, slavery debate, the school standoff in Montgomery Alabama and Kent State – impassioned citizens argued and defamed the character of individual citizens involved. The national dialog over illegal immigration may be one of those same pivotal moments in time. But no matter how frenzied the political debate becomes whether during a Presidential election year, or today, in Prince William County, history shows that, in each example, the wheels of democracy turned parallel to the agitation on a steady, committed course to institute resolution.
While I have held elected office, I have gained the utmost respect for the practice of democracy. Public debate is an important part in this democratic process. President James Buchanan said “I like the noise of democracy.” Members of this very board often have passionately opposing views. But in the process of debate, respectful of the public trust placed in us by those we represent and of our individual viewpoints, we govern. Where compromise can be reached an outcome is affected. When the majority rules, even once strongly held views can be vetted, out of deference for the republic in which we stand.
Thomas Jefferson once said, “In a government bottomed on the will of all, the liberty of every individual citizen becomes interesting to all.” When good men and women who vehemently disagree, come to the table for dialog, change does occur, sometimes even within impassioned individuals, as they are exposed to other points of view. As an elected representative of the people, I do not believe that it is within my purview to quash that potential growth.
In this country, history has proven time and time again that the only way to advance a cause in which you believe is to support the rights of people you don’t agree with. Contrary to popular belief, not all politicians test the wind to see which way it blows. Edmund Burke, one of the great philosophers upon which American political thought is based, summed this argument up best in a nutshell: “Your representative owes you not his industry only, but judgment and he betrays, instead of serving you, if he sacrifices that to your opinion.”
This statement should answer anyone who questions my actions. I have provided written copies of my statement so that my comments are not misconstrued.
Thus endeth the history lesson for those who may need it.
The opinions expressed here are solely the views of the author, and not representative of the position of any organization, political party, doughnut shop, knitting guild, or waste recycling facility, but may be correctly attributed to the Vast Right-Wing Conspiracy. If anything in the above article has offended you, please click here to receive an immediate apology.