Old Virginny survives in the New River ValleyThat's the problem, pal. We have all the safety nets imaginable here in Southwest Virginia. Enough to choke a horse. We don't need another one.
By Christian Trejbal
"Old Virginny is dead," Gov. Tim Kaine declared last week. "We are a new and dynamic and exciting commonwealth."
Take a closer look, though, and one finds that some parts of the commonwealth have changed more than others. Northern Virginia -- lots of change. Southwest Virginia -- not so much.
On taxes, health care and other pocketbook issues, Obama's policies will help far more than McCain's would have. Laid-off workers and down-on-their-luck farmers will land in a Democratic social safety net. (link)
What we don't have are jobs. Employers. The very people whom you and Obama despise.
Want to know what draws the largest crowd here in Bland each year, Christian? I know you really don't; you prefer your elitist worldview and nothing needs interfere. But I'm going to tell you anyway:
It's not the Festival of Leaves. It's not Sunday service at the United Methodist Church. Or the Presbyterian Church. It's not race day at the dirt track over in Wytheville.
It's the charitable giveaway of food, clothing, and - this time of year - Christmas gifts for the kids. Southwest Virginians swallow what remains of their pride and line up by the hundreds over at the Bland Ministry to receive a portion of that safety net. And the same scenario plays out every week throughout the year throughout the region. Safety nets? We got safety nets, man. Social services? If we could sell 'em all, we'd be rich.
Safety net? We here vote solidly against it because we want the day to come when we no longer need it. When we no longer need Democrat politicians to make the obligatory trip down here to offer another version of it.
Obama was the latest in a long line of many. But I've got news for you: His promising more of the same ain't going to bring about ... shall I say it? ... the kind of CHANGE that Southwest Virginia is screaming for.
We want employers. Opportunity. A future. JOBS. Dare I say it - WEALTH.
News flash: Bobby Kennedy came down this way, briefly, hugged a poor kid here in Appalachia (with cameras snapping), and promised us a way out exactly 40 years ago. The theme that came from that whirlwind visit? You're not going to believe it:
"The value of hope."
40 goddam years ago.
That safety net that you cling to as our best hope for the future resulted.
So now you and Obama bring us ... hope. And "change." And the promise of another safety net.
You wonder why we vote for the other side?
It's the result of years of experience, my friend. From years of hearing your kind tell us that Santy Claus is on the way with all kinds of handouts, and to be appreciative when he shows up.
It's a repudiation of a policy that has been 40 years in process.
The bottom line: We are worse off than we were when Bobby Kennedy came a'slummin'.
So take your "help" somewhere else. We're up to our ankles in it around here and, no matter how hard we try to wipe it off, the stink just won't go away.
- - -
* For those of you not familiar with Southwest Virginian Christian Trejbal and his efforts at the Roanoke Times, this is the guy who also penned "Southwest Virginia is for Haters." For perspective, it's a must read.