Since February 2017, Morgan County Indivisible has been renting a room at the Ice House in Berkeley Springs to host political meetings.
But next month’s Indivisible meeting will be the last one held at the Ice House.
Because the Morgan Arts Council, which owns and operates the Ice House, has decided that Indivisible will no longer be allowed to rent space and meet at the Ice House.
Morgan Arts Council executive director Thom Rubel told Morgan County USA that while the Indivisible group portrays itself as non partisan, increasingly it’s been moving in a partisan direction – tilting heavily toward the Democratic Party and Democratic Party candidates.
Indivisible says its meetings are open to everyone – and that it has hosted non Democrats, including County Commissioner Republican candidate Sean Forney and State Senate Independent candidate Jason Armentrout.
But Rubel points to the cover photo on the Morgan County Indivisible Facebook page featuring a woman holding a sign that says “Recovering Republican.”
And Rubel points to an Indivisible press release in the Morgan Messenger promoting the July 1 meeting at the Ice House as focused on “how to use activism to elect progressive candidates in local, state and national elections in November.”
Then there was Indivisible rhetoric about “turning a Red tide Blue,” he says.
“Up until the July meeting, they were doing a good job at being non partisan,” Rubel said. “With July meeting, it appeared they were headed to being more Democratic Party focused.”
“We don’t let candidates rent,” Rubel said. “We don’t let political parties rent. We have to steer clear of partisan politics. Indivisible is looking like it’s getting more partisan and we probably need to steer clear.”
But the decision to prohibit Indivisible from meeting at the Ice House didn’t happen in a vacuum.
It comes on the heels of a decision by the Morgan County Commission last month to cut the county’s funding of the Ice House.
Jeanne Mozier, who sits on the board of the Morgan Arts Council and was one of its founders, wrote a letter to the editor of the Messenger earlier this month saying that the cut in funding by the county was “especially disheartening since it was unnecessary and apparently based on a personal issue rather than on what is best for the county.”
There is little question that the issue that Mozier identifies as personal is in fact political.
But then again, the personal is political.