Letter: John D. Tew, Purcellville

Editor: I was with real dismay that I read the Feb. 15 article regarding Chairwoman Randall’s statement that “A proclamation against the Klan will not never [sic] walk up on this dais while I am chair.”  The error of the double negative aside (we all can make such mistakes when speaking emotionally and extemporaneously), there is a real and regrettable misunderstanding by Ms. Randall when she equates a Board proclamation condemning the recent actions of KKK members/sympathizers peppering their hate literature on Loudoun residences with somehow lending dignity to that hateful organization of misguided souls.

A “proclamation” by a governmental body is a “public or official announcement, especially one dealing with a matter of great importance.” Silence on important matters can be taken either as tacit approval or as an avoidance of the need to take an explicit, crystal clear position on such matters.  Silence in the face of abhorrent attitudes foisted on residents and their properties does not avoid conferring dignity (the state or quality of being worthy of honor or respect) — it simply leaves room for misinterpretation and confusion.

There is a school of thought that by reacting to vile philosophies and detestable acts with full-throated opposition, one is giving coveted attention to the atrocious perpetrators. Sadly, Ms. Randall has placed herself in that camp and done so from the pinnacle of Loudoun County government while attempting to assuage with merely an individual statement that the KKK is a terrorist organization (“. . . they are thugs, they are racists, and they are killers.”) This is not enough. If she and all the other members of the BOS believe the KKK is hate group trying to recruit and spread their hate in our county, then they must proclaim it loudly, explicitly, and as often as is necessary to leave no doubt that such hate is not wanted in Loudoun County.

Perhaps upon reflection Ms. Randall will reconsider her position and listen to those such as Mr. Thompson who seek to remind her of the past and warn against the danger of silence on what is clearly a matter of great importance in a country founded on the idea that all people are created equal. To that end, I offer two thoughts for Ms. Randall to consider . . .

Those who will not remember the past and are silent about its nascent repetition are complicit when the past is repeated. [adapted                      from the famous quote by George Santayana]

”First they came for the Socialists, and I did not speak out—Because I was not a Socialist. Then they came for the Trade Unionists, and I               did not speak out—Because I was not a Trade Unionist. Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew.

              Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” Martin Niemöller

John D. Tew, Purcellville

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