Editor: Despite our several differences, I have appreciated the opportunity to work with former Arlington County Board member John Vihstadt on shared interests over the years. And I always considered him to be an honest and honorable public servant and candidate.
That is why I am thoroughly dismayed by his cavalier and dismissive characterization of the Arlington Democrats’ “loyalty oath” (his choice of phase), a prerequisite to participation in the School Board endorsement caucus, in a recent blast e-mail to his friends and supporters.
The “pledge” in question, which must be signed by each voter as a condition of participation, states:
“I certify that I am a resident of and registered to vote in Arlington County, Virginia; I am a Democrat; I believe in the principles of the Democratic Party; and I do not intend to support, endorse or assist any candidate who is opposed to a Democratic nominee or endorsee in the ensuing election.”
I was proud to certify that I am a Democrat; that I believed in the principles of the Democratic Party; and that I did not intend to support, endorse or assist any candidate who is opposed to a Democratic nominee or endorsee in the November election.
In so certifying, I was, according to Merriam-Webster’s Online Dictionary, “attesting as being true or as represented or as meeting a standard,” with “attesting” having the meaning of “affirming to be true or genuine; specifically, to authenticate by signing as a witness.”
But John Vihstadt – a self-professed independent and sometime Republican – encouraged his Arlington supporters to join him and his wife by participating in the School Board endorsement caucus and signing the above-referenced certification (which he terms “distasteful”), evidently without regard to whether its terms actually apply to the signer – because it is “unenforceable.”
Mr. Vihstadt, this represents either the heights of civic hypocrisy or the depths of dishonesty. Or both. In the trademark tradition of the leader of your former party, you have now defined and marketed your very own Big Lie.
The claims to moral righteousness with which you habitually wrap yourself are now null and void.
Brian Hannigan, Arlington