Imagine that multiple women came forward with credible evidence that the mayor of a town in Shenandoah County had had affairs with them. He had paid some of them to remain silent. He was a married man, with three wonderful children and a beautiful wife, but the affairs had been going on for years. There had been occasional rumors over the years, all vehemently denied and characterized as smears and lies. Would we turn a blind eye and continue to wave to him in parades and reelect him as our mayor and the representative of our town and values?

Imagine that a teacher in one of our schools was in the habit of lying repeatedly to his students, substituting “alternate facts” and gut feelings for established scientific principles. When occasionally challenged on obvious inconsistencies or lies by a student, the teacher would double down on his assertions and then impugn the intelligence of the student. Would we tolerate such a teacher in our school system?

Imagine the brutal and premeditated murder of a local journalist who had written a number of articles that were critical of our local government officials and business leaders. They exposed alleged graft and self-enrichment for some. A thorough investigation by local and state police, assisted by the FBI, leads to a very wealthy and powerful man. The district attorney declines to prosecute, however, citing the amount of business and money this man brings to our county, with the promise of so much more to come. Would we be OK with that?

I suspect and hope that the answers to the above questions are no. If we would not tolerate these things on a local level, why do so many of us tolerate them on a national level?

Mark Pierce, M.D., Maurertown