Manassas Journal Messenger | Politics is filled with double standards

I really get tired of double standards. It seems to me that they are more numerous then ever these days, especially in politics.

A few years ago I became fed up with both of the “old” political parties and struck out to find one that aligned more with my beliefs. As the Robert Frost poem goes? “Two roads diverged in a wood and I took the one less traveled ? and that has made all the difference.”

Well, in my case it was the third road which I took, but the result is the same. I can see things without liberal or conservative blinders. Almost everyone I know who aligns themselves with the Republicans or Democrats are willing to let the indiscretions of the candidates and politicians in their party go unmentioned. I just can’t do that.

I started thinking about this after last week’s column when I wrote about the Republican Party of Prince William asking for Supervisor Ruth Griggs to resign her membership due to her decision to support Robert McBride for Occoquan supervisor. I mentioned that other Republicans had supported Democratic candidates, and even attended their fund-raising events, without similar retribution.

A couple weeks ago there was quite an outpouring of anger on these opinion pages about the Republican fund-raiser that coincided with 9-11. Most of it was from the liberal side of the community, but to be fair some folks did indicate they were Republican. However, I haven’t read a single letter yet about the glossy flyer that was mailed by the “Stoffregen for Sheriff” campaign, which hit mail boxes a couple days after Sept. 11.

The flyer starts out by saying: “September 11th, 2001, was one of the worst days in the history of our country.” At the end the sheriff even goes so far as to use a quote from the Manassas Journal Messenger indicating that Glen Hill praised him for his response to the terrorist attacks.

Anti-terrorist activities may well be a part of the sheriff’s job, but the flyer did not have to focus on Sept. 11 to convey that fact. That ad prays on the same emotions (fear, anger, patriotism, etc.) that the Republican fundraiser was leveraging.

Recently one of my esteemed colleagues wrote in her column that Steve Keen, candidate for Prince William County School Board chair, should either return or donate money that was contributed to his campaign by members of the Prince William Linguistics Academy Board, or he should recuse himself from voting on the charter school application.

Yet no efforts are being expended to find out if those who donate to various school board campaigns are interested in having the charter school application fail. There are undoubtedly candidates who are opposed to having a charter school approved. Why not look into their donations and question the contributors as to their interest in charter schools?

For instance, Ella Shannon has openly stated her opposition to the charter school, and she has donated money to Lucy Beauchamp. Perhaps Ms. Beauchamp should be urged to return that money or recuse herself from the vote also.

After all, campaign contributions aren’t usually given to folks out of philanthropic benevolence. Contributors frequently expect something in return. If this wasn’t the case then you wouldn’t see developers and road contractors donating exclusively to candidates who advocate outer beltways and half cent sales tax increases.

How about the donations accepted by Sheriff Stoffregen? In his campaign reports there are donations from Prince William County pawn shops, a car dealer, a lumber yard, a concrete company and a carpet store – to name just a few.

Why shouldn’t he return those since part of his job is protecting the interests and lives of ALL citizens? If there is even the question of a conflict of interest in a campaign receiving money from contributors who could benefit from the decisions made by a candidate when elected, why couldn’t the same logic be used to infer that the sheriff could spend more time patrolling the businesses that have donated to his campaign? Or perhaps spend more time working cases related to those business interests?

Another example of a double standard is related to an article in the Potomac News this past Tuesday in which Sean Connaughton stated that the 8.7 percent fuel factor rate increase by Dominion Virginia Power was “?still a very hefty tax increase,” adding, “We would like to have a better explanation and are generally not supportive, given the effect on our citizens.” However, he had no problem heaping a 9.3 percent average real property tax increase on those same residents this year. I agree with his sentiments that significant increases are not tolerable, but I don’t agree with is his talking the talk but not walking the walk.

I just can’t figure out why don’t people hold those in their own party accountable to the same standards that they want the other party to abide by?

James Simpson lives in Lake Ridge.

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