Editor: I am disheartened by the Leesburg Town Council’s June 28 action against three members of the Commission on Public Art . These young men refused to be railroaded into a vote on the Loudoun Museum mural proposal without appropriate consideration and discussion of concerns regarding the mural’s historical accuracy and its artistic design. As a result, the Town Council fired them and immediately removed them from the commission.
As a business and community leader, I know first-hand how difficult it is to encourage young people to serve on boards and public commissions. What kind of message are we sending to the next generation of would-be community leaders when they see that, if they speak up and voice an opinion that is different from that of the machine, they, in effect, can be and most likely will be dismissed? That their voices don’t matter. That if you want to serve, either rubber- stamp what the majority wants, or risk a public shaming. Is that what we’ve become?
Last July, nearly 60 elected officials fled from the state of Texas to Washington, DC, to deny the majority in the legislature a quorum. Their purpose: to stall the passage of a bill on voting rights that the Democrat legislators fundamentally disagreed with. My guess is that some of those on the Town Council may have applauded that action at the time. Certainly, a number of county supervisors did. Yet when Mr. McCullough and his colleagues performed a similar act, leaving a meeting in order to allow more time for discussion of a mural project that they fundamentally disagreed with, they are called-out and summarily dismissed from their posts. To me and many others in the community, their dismissal feels retaliatory. Partisan. Political. And unfair.
In my capacity as a leader in this community, I wish to applaud Mr. McCullough and his colleagues for standing up for their principles and doing what they thought was right. While I had no part in the Town Council’s decision, I feel compelled to apologize on behalf of the community for the actions taken against these three young leaders.
Leesburg can and ought to do better.
Sharon Virts, Leesburg