Readers who get their news online may have missed some new information about the Courthouse displays/public forum controversy in the print version of the Leesburg Today article. This information came to light on Tuesday, after they had posted the online version but before they went to press. I don’t know why Leesburg Today didn’t update the online article.
Many of the speakers demanding to know “why Christmas is being banned” [sic] also wanted to know, after the board had established a policy last December, “why this is being brought up again.” One could feel the outrage that they were being dragged down to the board room, away from their family dinners and whatnot, to give the very same testimony again. Well, we are now reminded of the answer to that question.
Several residents wondered why they had to come before the Board of Supervisors again, when the issue had been dealt with before the holidays last year. Tuesday, Vice Chairman Susan Klimek Buckley (D-Sugarland Run) addressed that question head on, pointing out that the staff report shows that Delgaudio made an amendment to the board’s December motion requiring the Courthouse Grounds and Facilities Committee to return to the full board with any of its recommendations. This issue was brought forward by the committee earlier this month and referred to Tuesday’s meeting for action.
“There’s your explanation. The courthouse committee has made a recommendation. This board voted that those recommendations should come before this body,” Buckley said, adding that board members “should remember that fact” when discussing the issue of the displays.
There you have it: Mr. Delgaudio issued an overwrought plea to his followers, exhorting them to sacrifice their personal time for this “urgent” issue… that he himself had made sure would come before the board for the purpose of just such an event. This was a spectacle due entirely to his own orchestration. Gosh, does it sound like an election year might be around the corner? This is masterful political manipulation, because the people being used as props are actually angry with everyone but the politician who is using them. If I found this sort of thing remotely palatable, I might say “Well done,” but in fact I find the cynical disregard for his constituents and others used in this way too nauseating for words.
There is another irony to note, also the product of Mr. Delgaudio’s overactive propaganda mill: The Courthouse Grounds and Facilities Committee has been made the target of wrath and accused of declaring a “war on Christmas,” but did not in fact do anything to interfere with Christmas displays. In the span of years during which there were only Christmas displays on the courthouse grounds, the committee made no recommendation to prohibit them. It was only after other types of displays became a reality that the committee recommended a ban. While those who cherish the idea of a public forum open to all and free from viewpoint discrimination might take exception to this, those who are only concerned about the right to express Christian beliefs should not.
Although I disagree with their goals, the latter group certainly has a lot to be angry about. If they took a good hard look at the facts, maybe they would notice how that anger has been misdirected and used.