Local Commentary

The Little City Weed

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The progressive community in Falls Church is currently underrepresented. A community which values citizen participation, supports its schools, places a high value on practical politics, and is respectful of local business owners and those who serve us in local government, has no organizing force in the city.

 

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The progressive community in Falls Church is currently underrepresented. A community which values citizen participation, supports its schools, places a high value on practical politics, and is respectful of local business owners and those who serve us in local government, has no organizing force in the city. The lack of organized progressives in Falls Church has created a vacuum which is currently being filled by incomplete or inexact progressive agendas and those with agendas which are inapposite to progressive values. Progressives may be a majority in Falls Church, and they suffer for the lack of a voice in the community.

No one is to blame for the current state of affairs. It just is what it has become. The notion of modern progressivism does not equate to partisan Liberal or Democratic principles. Modern progressivism is defined in various ways, usually more on a national rather than a local scale, but it borrows much from Jacksonian principles of government, the Howard Dean vision of netroots communities, and Teddy Roosevelt Era third party politics – with more of a shout out to the business community.

The more people who participate in government the better off we are. Public education is valued. Public service is honored. Independent local government is protected. The communication of knowledge is important. Practical politics is rewarded. Local businesses are appreciated. Respectful public discourse is facilitated by technology and local volunteerism.

Falls Church is developing a thick veneer of anti-progressivism. The city council listened to the siren song of “better voters not more voters” and made the impractical, more expensive, decision to move local elections to period when fewer than half as many citizens vote. The city has allowed itself to pivot on a financial matrix which allows kids in our local school system to be sterilely characterized as expensive cost units to be systemically avoided. Our local government is openly ridiculed and threatened by so-called experts who second guess every decision and who glory in bullying public servants by making loose accusations of illegality, unprofessionalism, and public denouncements of poor job performance. Community leaders who strive to help build a sense of community and volunteerism are attacked and personally denigrated as “special interest groups,” “insolvent” and much worse. The efforts to build infrastructure for local business are blocked by predictable, fear-based, parochial objection – the design is ugly, the developer is making money, we need more study, it has to be fifty percent commercial, etceteras. The local discourse skews toward humorless and hate-filled bile designed to articulate the absurd or project some old ham fisted notion of hack job political sadism on the ghosts of perceived enemies.

Maybe Falls Church is at its essence anti-progressive. Maybe.

If there is a progressive presence in Falls Church, its values are not currently being represented in our community. As hard as it is to imagine that such a hyperventilating activist city needs another organization – there is an obvious case to be made for the emergence of a progressive community organization in Falls Church.

 


Michael Gardner is a quixotic citizen and founder of the Blueweeds community blog.

 

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