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Editor’s NotebookEditor’s Notebook: Some self-respect would be nice

Editor’s Notebook: Some self-respect would be nice

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I will not mention the elected official because there’s no reason to dredge up specifics, but some will recall this story.

Years back, a local office-holder started showing up on the dais for meetings with no tie on. “Sans cravate,” for you Francophones out there.

This was a Bozo-no-no (for you “Bozo” fans out there…) in the eyes of the Sun Gazette’s etiquette department, which made the point that wearing a jacket and tie, were one of the male persuasion, was vital for office-holders during official meetings. It was, we said at the time, a mark of respect not simply for the job that one held, but also for the constituents one represented.

This has been festering for a while, but a couple of current members of the Arlington School Board – maskless since last week’s meeting! – are going commando, either without a jacket, without a tie, or without both. Even the superintendent, who makes an obscene amount of money and ought to dress the part, seems to prefer the jacket-and-sweater look, although there may have been a tie hidden underneath.

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Some will call the informal look inviting, saying those who expect formality are Luddites and fuddy-duddies. What is that you say from the great beyond, oh sartorially splendid John McLaughlin? “Wrong!” And right you are.

In that earlier incident, Ye Olde Sun Gazette had enough heft in the community that it got the elected official to mend his ways and return to a tie. Not sure our whining about it will make the current elected officials do the same. Nobody seems to care any more about keeping up appearances and maintaining standards. But they should. Sloppiness reflects badly on the School Board, the school system and the community.

Please, fellas, have a little self-respect. This is not Bradenton Beach, Fla., a community I have some knowledge of, where flip-flops and Hawaiian shirts are the norm for men at some meetings. Northern Virginia is supposed to be a little higher up the political food chain.

And again, it has nothing specifically to do with YOU, elected officials. It’s about respect for the position you HOLD. And if you don’t have that respect for your job, why would you think any of your constituents should?

Just sayin’ ….

SPEAKING OF THE ARLINGTON SCHOOL BOARD: I most definitely was not anticipating 80% (four of five) board members to be mask-free at last week’s meeting. I’d have expected nearly all to remain masked up.

Not for the first time in life, I was wrong.

My position on masking at this point is akin to Chuck Berry’s soliloquy in “My Ding-a-Ling,” which somewhat unexplicably was his only chart-topping hit, albeit a delightful homage to that appendage roughly half the population has dangling down below.

“Live like you wanna live, darlin’ – ain’t nobody gonna knock it,” the true king of rock-and-roll said during a riff with the audience in that live recording.

As for masks? Take ’em off, leave ’em on, fine by me. Just don’t impose your views (either way) on the rest of us.

SALUTING THE IDES OF MARCH: The Ides of March is today, and while it wasn’t such a groovy day for Julius Caesar, it was the name of a groovy band that in 1970 went all the way to No. 2 on the Billboard Hot 100. Only “American Woman” by the Guess Who stood in the way of the Ides of March hitting the top with “Vehicle,” Wikipedia says.

Enjoy a rendition below. Love the horn section.

– Scott McCaffrey

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