By Chris Simmons
Several years ago, a quaint little village in Virginia held its annual “Fall Festival.” Populated by amazing artisans, tours of historic homes, and abundant junk food, it is a fun event for young and old alike. On that particular October weekend, bitterly-contested state and national elections were in their closing weeks. Throughout the strongly-Democratic hamlet, political signs were as abundant as the gently falling leaves.
A major Republican Party official and her entourage arrived and launched into some old-fashioned politicking at the heavily attended fair. Within minutes, members of the festival’s organizing committee surrounded them and instructed them to leave. “We don’t allow politics to distract from our festival,” they were told.
“How can you say that?” one local entourage member asked. “Your town is awash with blue Democratic Party campaign signs” the staffer added. Then, pointing to a nearby crowd, another Republican activist added – “Right there are several Democratic candidates for the state Senate and House of Delegates doing exactly what we’re doing.”
“We hadn’t noticed they were here,” a festival organizer said with a broad smirk. “Now please leave,” she again directed.
The senior Republican representative graciously complemented the organizers on the beauty of their village, expressed her hope for a hugely successful event, and announced that they would leave as requested.
Livid at the disrespect just inflicted, several members of the entourage repeatedly glanced back as they proceed up the hill to the parking lot. “Look, they’re going back to the fair! They didn’t tell the Democrats to leave! They lied to us!!” wailed one incensed supporter.
“It will be okay,” their Republican leader said reassuringly. After the activists were packed back into their vehicle, their principal turned to them and again smiled. “Think of this as a teaching point,” she said. “I sit on the committee that decides which towns receive state grants for their festivals, as well as the size of those grants. This town will never see another dime from Richmond [the state capitol].”
During the years that followed, the hamlet received annual notices that its grant requests had been denied. Apparently, there is no longer enough funding for all the worthy applicants.
Two distinct lessons can be drawn from this scenario:
- Hypocrisy and deceit is often “treated” by the hidden hand of discreet retaliation.
- We frequently create our own enemies.