When last we left Pittsylvania County Supervisor Ronald Scearce in December, we thought him just to be irresponsibly dangerous to his constituents and himself. But that’s before he opened his mouth a second time and really showed us the substance of his character.
Let’s review what we know about Scearce, supervisor for the Westover District and – this is truly inconceivable – vice chair of the board.
First you may recall this comment he made at the end of the board’s meeting in December, when he said he would be ignoring the state’s caution about gathering socially during the holidays as a way to limit social spread of COVID-19:
“For my family, we’re going to add some special civil disobedience traditions to our Christmas plans this year, and I plan on having as many of my extended family and friends that I can tolerate,” Scearce said. “And it will be without a mask. I hope the governor’s listening.”
We hoped no one was listening as he encouraged people to put themselves in harm’s way and to continue to spread COVID-19 in a county that now has had more than 4,000 cases and 46 deaths, more in January than any other month.
Not only were his words a blatant disrespect to those among his constituents who have lost someone to the virus, but it was a total abdication of his responsibility to ensure that the public is protected and – at least on a moral level – to set a good example. He inconceivably was advocating for people to act recklessly.
Sure, we all wanted to spend time with our families during the holidays, but if individual sacrifice for the greater public good is the definition of public service, Scearce’s position was unquestionable failure.
And don’t you think anyone with an ounce of humanity would feel pretty raw about having advocated those actions after reading in Monday’s Register & Bee about Rebecca Wright?
Wright, who is asthmatic, had done everything right to protect herself from the virus until she, yes, went to a holiday family gathering where someone was unknowingly infected. She and six other relatives turned up with the disease, and she has spent weeks on a ventilator fighting for her life.
Yes, this was just the sort of activity Scearce had suggested in his moment of being a misbegotten and myopic misanthrope. Do you think Scearce then had a second thought? We wonder if he had a first thought.
And now we have even more evidence about how Scearce thinks.
Return with us now to January’s meeting of the supervisors, and it’s Scearce’s turn to offer his insights to the those attending and the community watching on television.
First he went on another a diatribe against Gov. Ralph Northam and the state’s mask mandate, and then he pulled out what Register & Bee reporter Parker Cotton described as “an M40A1 military-grade gas mask” to compare with a cloth mask he had that featured the phrase “Trump 2020.”
Whatever judgment you would make of that presentation, then Scearce again showed us his absence of judgment by opening his mouth and saying of the gas mask:
“It will stop just about any chemical or biological agent in the world. It will also stop the Chinese virus….This crazy thing here [indicating the cloth mask], while it’s great advertising for the greatest president of my lifetime, does absolutely nothing to stop the Chinese virus.”
You don’t need to hear more, because when he uttered the phrase “Chinese virus,” we knew exactly who Ronald Scearce is.
His disregard for humanity is obvious. His judgment is dubious. And now he has reinforced that he is given to overt racism.
You may not like wearing a mask to protect against COVID-19. You might not like keeping your distance from those you love out of respect and to protect. Neither do we.
You may not like standing apart in public and avoiding crowds and limiting activities. You may not even like washing your hands.
But we think, if you live in Pittsylvania County, you need to wash your hands of Ronald Scearce.
We don’t need his offensive, and dangerous words in the public space. We might have ignored them except for our responsibility to warn you about a dangerous person loose in our midst.
Pittsylvania Countians deserve someone in leadership who cares about residents and wants what’s best for them, to keep them safe. And that would be ALL residents.
We do not need some who sneers at what scientists suggest and who demeans a race of people because it mimics someone he thinks is cool.
We know that Scearce is not the type of person who would resign from office out of shame and personal conflict. We doubt doing the right thing is not in his field of vision.
So we suggest one more thing to protect the public against Scearce: Let’s have him put on that gas mask and wear it everywhere and help us stop the spread of his dangerous rhetoric.