There were a number of things that disappointed me in this article in the Manassas Journal Messenger, including a huge mistake in misquoting Chief Deane. But this part disappointed me, puzzled me, and pissed me off. The writer editorializes that 9500 Liberty,
works to demonize board Chairman Corey Stewart, R-at large, who was running for re-election in 2007 when he and Supervisor John T. Stirrup, R-Gainesville, pushed to pass the resolution.
I’m not sure what the writer was thinking when he added this perspective to what is supposed to be a straight news article. First of all, there is no call for using such a strong word. Second of all, the film does not “work” to do anything other than show Chairman Stewart being very good at what he does. If you like the idea of immigration culture wars dividing your community right before an election, Corey is no demon in this film, he’s a saint. No one in the film criticizes him. No one who spoke after the film directly criticized him. In fact, his name didn’t even come up. I was among a number of audience members who were shocked that certain of the Chairman’s most dastardly deeds were NOT included in the film. I wasn’t going to respond to the comment other than to say I agreed, but this was posted yesterday by Last Best Hope:
Billed as a film that “makes Corey Stewart look like an idiot” (this was the big quote in a MJM article from someone who got a sneak preview), the film revealed nothing I did not already know about him, while omitting many of the things he did to make himself look, if not idiotic, at least unhinged. There was nothing about Stewart instantaneously forwarding internal BOCS emails to Greg Letiecq so that the Letiecq Internet Frenzy machine could be used to bully the Board into firing Chief Deane. That was Stewart’s lowest moment and a glaring omission from the film. Stewart’s second lowest moment, or most brilliant depending on your agenda, was using county funds to send out a political post card during his “fighting illegal immigration” reelection campaign setting up the circus act BOCS meeting in Oct. 2007. While this is 10 times more predictable, it was also 10 times more infamous and more discussed at the time. I was looking forward to seeing Maureen Caddigan’s brilliant move to hold the Chairman’s feet to the fire when he tried to limit the very people he invited to participate to only one minute at the podium. I believe Stewart lost the vote 6 to 2, and the result was 12 hours of Citizens’ Time to delay a vote that was already decided before they showed up. But this was skipped as well.
Last Best Hope concludes by saying, “Basically Stewart is not in the film other than Board meetings, and I’m not sure this alone makes him look like an idiot.” I could not agree more. If anything, the film was soft on Corey Stewart, considering how it should, or could have been made. Much was left out that could follow Corey politically.
Speaking of soft pedaling, I thought the film went too easy on Mr. Fernandez as well. Most people I have talked to say that his sign hurt the Hispanic community more than helped it, by handing Greg Letiecq a perfect gift with which to demonize (here is where the word is apt) the Hispanic community. Greg got more mileage out of that sign. He signed up more people because of it than he ever would have with his laughably manipulative pictures of men with ski-masks holding machine guns.
The voice over in the film criticizes the wording of the third sign, which was over-the-top offensive, but only because the inflammatory language could endanger his kids. A fair point, but it did more than endanger kids, it pissed a lot of people off, of all races, who might not otherwise have been that critical of the sign. Fernandez insulted the very people who were actually trying to help; the coalition of people who were working to fight back the powers of darkness ended up being included in the broad-brush insult.