by Michael McClary, cross-posted from the Culpeper Star-Exponent
Once again, Culpeper Town Councilman Jon Russell speaks only for himself in unjustly maligning our congresswoman, Abigail Spanberger.
His asserting that an elected official is standing silent or cheering on violence is the height of irresponsibility (Aug. 3 column, “Our safety is in jeopardy with Spanberger in Congress”).
Violence and the destruction of private property are against the law, but they have—in some places like Richmond and Portland—become the unfortunate collateral damage of this country’s long history of racism, bigotry and police brutality.
Amazingly, Russell is silent on the peaceful protests that have been taking place all over America, including right here in Culpeper.
Russell’s delusion that “mothers and children are praying” that violence does not spread to Chesterfield and Henrico is belied by the protests and marches that have occurred there, in which Rep. Spanberger has taken part.
On May 30, Spanberger addressed the outrageous police brutality that sparked nationwide outrage, saying, “We must stand united in our horror and anger at blatant offenses like the murders of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, and Ahmaud Arbery, but in the days to come, our work must focus on the foundations of inequity and bias that make these horrors possible.”
Virtually every honorable official in the country, in both parties, has denounced President Trump’s unilateral decision to send his paramilitary stormtroopers to Portland against the express demands of city and state leaders. Once the troops were withdrawn, the protests once again became peaceful.
Spanberger was absolutely correct in stating “the president’s intentions are not meant to unite, but rather to divide, disorient, and demonstrate power.”
Trump’s thugs and goons gassed and flash-banged peaceful protesters in Washington’s Lafayette Square to clear the way for his photo op in front of a church he has never been in, while holding upside down a Bible handed to him.
Russell’s comments on gun control are absurd. Virginia voters demanded reasonable gun regulations in 2017 and 2019. Nothing in this summer’s new laws restricts the rights of any lawful citizen, including women, to protect themselves with firearms.
The facts are plain for everyone to see. Spanberger has compiled an impressive record of accomplishments on behalf of all her constituents, not just those of her own party. She has held an unprecedented number of town halls and meetings, and attended community events all across the 7th District.
Her continuing hard work benefits everyone, including funding rural broadband to bridge the digital divide; keeping up the fight against COVID-19, including expanding telehealth; protecting Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid; fighting for Central Virginia taxpayers; encouraging voter registration and getting out the vote; introducing bipartisan legislation—alongside Reps. Rob Wittman, Elaine Luria and Denver Riggleman—to provide refurbished, older government computers to veterans, students and seniors; reasserting Congress’s role to end our endless wars; and calling on Trump to denounce Russia’s payments of bounties to the Taliban to kill American soldiers.
Spanberger has a proven record of working with both Democrats and Republicans on the issues that matter most to Central Virginians. Just last month, she received the Jefferson-Hamilton Award for Bipartisanship from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, a notably conservative organization, for her work to cut red tape for small businesses and help pass the United States-Mexico-Canada trade agreement. This is the kind of smart leadership we need in Congress.
Russell is strangely silent on all these important issues.
Abigail Spanberger has sworn the oath several times—as a federal law-enforcement officer, a CIA officer, and a member of Congress—to support and defend the Constitution of the United States. Has Russell? I doubt it.