To the Editor:
I commend David Holtzman for pointing out in last week’s edition of the CV how Delegate John McGuire connects with voters on social media, and his quoting Stephen Farnsworth, a political scientist at the University of Mary Washington — “By focusing on the issues [guns and abortion] that generate a strong emotional response, it maximizes the chances they’re re-elected.”
Yet both observations fall short of capturing the magnitude of what McGuire is doing.
He deliberately attempts to short-circuit people’s ability to think clearly, using messages designed to cause people to become victims of their own emotions. They become too angry to even think, let alone ask questions everyone should be asking of their elected officials regardless of any tribal affiliations.
Questions like this: How have your actions this past session benefited the people of your district and can you cite some specific examples?
McGuire’s strategy is one of distraction, to say one thing while communicating an entirely different message, one that goes well beyond the usual coded Republican Party “dog whistles.” Look at his Facebook page, where he calls for “thoughts and prayers” for the victims of this past weekend’s shootings.
Messages such as “It’s too soon to talk about it,” or “We need to deal with mental illness,” are a slap in the face of reality. As one person aptly called out on his Facebook page, “Oh no Johnny boy you do not get to comment on the murders of innocent Americans to score political points. You and the rest of the Republicans slunk away from Richmond without discussing even ONE bill to help save Virginians.”
It’s a pattern of misdirection the people of Louisa will be seeing from local candidates running under Republican Party banners, whose Facebook pages offer little if any meaningful content which might help you to evaluate what they bring to the table, or even where they stand on relevant issues.
It’s no coincidence that you’re not seeing this kind of pablum on local independent candidates’ Facebook and webpages, because they’re not afraid to talk about the issues.
Make no mistake, whichever lever you choose to pull on November 5th this year, and November 3rd the following year, those decisions will set the nation’s course for decades to come. There no longer is any middle ground, and your choices are simple. Either you’re for social progress, justice and a working government, or you’re not.