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We should expect better from our county commissioners

By Scott Tibbs, May 9, 2018

You are not going to convince anyone that their position on a public policy issue is wrong with posturing, virtue signaling and condemning those who disagree with you as moral reprobates. You are only going to harden and intensify the opposition to your policy agenda.

On the issue of gun control, why would gun-rights advocates be receptive to the arguments of people who just accused them of not caring that children are killed - or worse yet, accuse gun-rights advocates of actually murdering children? Do you think that is how you change someone's mind?

It is one thing for activists to launch these false personal attacks - especially when they are teenagers. It is something else entirely for an elected county commissioner to be openly accusing the National Rifle Association of murdering children. That is exactly what county commissioner Amanda Barge did on her personal Facebook page last month. Barge wrote: "Hey hey NRA how many kids did you kill today?"

First, Barge's statement is simply false. The NRA has never killed anyone. This is a smear, and we should expect better from our elected officials. And let's please not play the game of "she was only asking a question." We all know that is an accusation, not a question.

Barge's hostility toward the NRA raises questions for her performance as county commissioner. If an NRA member goes before the county commissioners for a rezone, can he or she expect a fair hearing from Amanda Barge? If a county employee under the control of the commissioners is an NRA member, can thqat county employee expect fair treatment from Barge? These are legitimate questions.

As a Republican in a county that has been under Democratic rule since January 2007, I do not expect the policy views or budgetary priorities of elected officials will be something I agree with. I do, however, expect that county elected officials will treat Republican constituents with respect and not accuse those constituents of being child murderers (or at least affiliated with child murderers) because of a policy disagreement.

What Barge needs to realize is that, while she is a Democrat in a Democrat-majority county, she represents all of the people of Monroe County. Sadly, it seems that Commissioner Barge thinks she only represents those who voted for her, and she rules those who did not.