Sometimes I want to hide my face in my hands. Indefinitely.
A couple weeks ago, West Virginia’s John Raese made national news by telling an audience of Putnam County Republicans that the requirement that he post a sign banning smoking on his business property was the same as Hitler making Jews wear a Star of David. Mr. Raese will be running against Joe Manchin in the fall for the U. S. Senate seat once held by Robert Byrd. In a YouTube video, Mr. Raese is shown saying that he believes everyone ought to be able to do as he or she pleases, “’cause I’m an American,” he reasons.
Today, I’m feeling numb as I read dozens of Facebook posts expressing shock, sadness, but mostly embarrassment that once again, a great many West Virginians, 57,081 of them to be exact, have proven themselves to be braying asses too stupid to understand the value of their individual vote. They squandered their votes on an imprisoned Texas felon crafty enough to get on the presidential ballot in the State of West Virginia. (Not much craft involved, since West Virginia’s ballot laws are lax.) No doubt, those West Virginians will be the inspiration for much hilarious commentary on this evening’s satirical talk shows.
But what about the rest of us? The ones who have either elected to stay in West Virginia, or have come back, often because of family ties? Some of us are deeply committed to a clean environment because it directly correlates to better health for human beings. Some of us are working hard for a diversified economy that will allow entrepreneurs to create opportunity for many years in the future. Some of us see the beauty of West Virginia that is too often obscured by careless industrial practices, the same practices and attitudes that apparently also dull minds. We’re the ones who insist that West Virginia and its people are worth making sacrifices for.
Today, some of us have to be wondering why we bother.