This is non-negotiable

The WaPo reporter was there at the January 20 Board of Supervisors meeting (video here), and this story appeared yesterday in the Extra.

Loudoun County Supervisor Eugene A. Delgaudio (R-Sterling), a longtime opponent of gay rights, is coming under increased criticism for recent comments viewed as homophobic and embarrassing to the community.

At a Board of Supervisors meeting Wednesday, five of his board counterparts used personal time to chastise the Sterling supervisor for anti-gay comments

Actually, mere “anti-gay comments” from this person don’t elicit much response from his colleagues beyond a dismissive glance anymore. What they found unacceptable was his reference, in writing, to other human beings as “it.”

McGimsey said: “I think that the actions and words of Mr. Delgaudio prove why we needed to institute the policy that we did the other day. There’s clearly some people who need those kinds of policies in place.”

She said she believed his language was dangerous.

Yes. Designating a group of people as less than human has never led to anything positive in human history, has it? These supervisors are taking Mr. Delgaudio’s transgression seriously for very good reason.

When I was asked for my opinion of Mr. Delgaudio’s behavior, I said that I thought there were two possibilities: Either his actions are calculated and deliberate, or he is mentally unstable and losing control of himself, and that it’s hard at this point to tell which it is. Evidently, the reporter asked him about this.

In an interview, Delgaudio said he was in full control of his actions. “I do everything I do on purpose,” he said.

While mentally unstable people may also believe that they are in full control of their actions, we have here a pretty clear statement that he thinks that what he did – naming a group of people in our community as less than human, and inviting others to have disregard for their lives – was done in a purposeful and calculated way.

Not only that, I’ve also been told that Mr. Delgaudio is bragging that he’s raised “thousands of dollars” from this activity, fundraising for his family business. What we are seeing here is the behavior of a pathologically amoral person, a person who would generate personal income from the incitement of hatred, and potentially violence, against a population that is already targeted by hate violence at a sickening rate.

As cowardly as Mr. Delgaudio may be, at least he is not using the shield of anonymous internet identities to hide his name and face. That is not the case for some of his defenders. The presence of such people in our community, emboldened by words calculated to normalize their fear, ignorance and rage, is eloquent proof of the need for specific protections for transgender people.

There are also bloggers and commenters who, in their effort to control damage to the Republican brand, are failing to understand their own responsibility to the community. Understandably, they just want Mr. Delgaudio to shut up, and are currently engaged in Clintonesque exercises in parsing what the meaning of “it” is, endless spin accusing the other supervisors of “grandstanding,” and generally trying to minimize Mr. Delgaudio’s unacceptable “it” statement by categorizing it with the rest of his repugnant history. Like Mr. Delgaudio’s insulting “apology,” this is prevarication. Amidst all the noise, the silence is deafening.

This is non-negotiable. If you do not understand why it is unacceptable under any circumstances to refer to other human beings as “it,” if you do not understand the meaning of such sentiments in human history, then you do not understand anything of moral behavior. In the absence of such understanding, your claims that you are “not for discrimination for any reason” are hollow and meaningless.

With all due respect, please drop the partisan hat for five minutes and make a statement simply as a decent member of the human family. Conscience demands it.

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5 Responses to This is non-negotiable

  1. V. Kelly says:

    David, you have put the central issue so well. I agree with Supervisor McGimsey: this is dangerous and anti-social behavior and simply cannot be tolerated from someone who holds public office, but most especially given that it occurred in the context of his governmental duties. For years Mr. Delgaudio has gotten away with things beyond the pale because everyone said he’s a clown or a joke. I stopped laughing a long time ago, and this latest action of his really does have ugly historical implications, as you say. Our humanity demands we stand up and denounce him.

  2. David says:

    Thank you very much. I have been pretty disappointed in the machinations of Barbara Munsey around this incident – although you will probably not be surprised. I guess for some people, personal interest comes before everything else.

  3. tomcook92 says:

    It really upsets me that just because I’m gay, people will discriminate against me. I just want the same rights as everyone else.

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