It must be different for you…having lived here so much longer than I have…and being sheltered from statewide and federal politics. I know there has been corruption, waste, and fiscal irresponsibility in Caroline County long before I came here, but nothing I’ve heard of matches the disgrace of the statewide politics that I see and feel on a daily basis.
The people I’ve met in Caroline County have been phenomenal. They have been intelligent and kind, considerate and productive. In the vacuum of space, we would be but a singular moderation. In the context of the Commonwealth, Caroline County is a paradise and rural utopia hidden from the prying eyes of political masterminds and activist wizards currently plaguing the rest of Virginia.
If you’ve lived here all your life, you won’t understand it when I say that I have never felt such a calm compassionate atmosphere. You think the Sheriff’s Office is a problem? Try making sense of legislation in Richmond or navigating the hallowed halls of Congress. Try doing something good there; where if, by chance or magic, you accomplish one decent thing a year you feel you walk on air for a decade.
Do you realize that while governmental departments in Richmond and D.C. squander capital in order to justify more funds, your Caroline County departments work around the clock to save our tax dollars, coming in under budget, demonstrating fiscal responsibility?
Part of me believes that there is something brilliant in county government. We elect a Board of Supervisors and a School Board. We demand they perform, yes? They hire a county administrator beholden to our elected and he works hard to deliver productive results on behalf of the elected. Our County Administrator, Charles Cully, is in my opinion one of the most responsible administrators in the Commonwealth. Our School Board went and hired Dr. George Parker – a motivated agent of reform. We need to expect and demand the most of him. Maybe executives should be appointed, instead of elected. Just a thought.
I promise you, the best thing our county can do is to hire capable human capital. I’ve heard rumors, since moving here, that this was not always accomplished in the past. I see it present now. If something changed, you changed it with your votes, your support, and your honesty.
I don’t quite think you can understand how important this is for the people who elect the people that represent them. The fact is, I am coming to trust the people who live in Caroline County. I follow politics here, in our county, our Commonwealth, and federally including our Congressman. As if some magic protects us, I have stood witness to wisdom and stood in awe of activism. Those of you who came by my house to pick up yard signs and those of you who argued with me, respectfully, about our politics and culture, are an inspiration to me.
I am a Republican. I shake hands with and speak to Democrats at the grocery store. The Democrats on our Board of Supervisors and School Board have never, for a moment, treated me with anything less than their utmost respect. Those of you who follow politics in our Commonwealth will understand that discovering this is like finding a cooler of icy cold water in a desert, or having your significant other surprise you with tickets to a concert headlining a band you’ve loved your entire life.
Caroline County can be special. If we lack anything, it’s community involvement. If there is anything lacking here, it’s you. I love our Democrat activists in this county, of which there are surprisingly few. None of them have ever treated me poorly – a Come Here – a Republican.
I have read countless articles referencing nasty politics in both political parties over the last few weeks. I’ve read about a Democrat machine that ignores the voices of the very people they are supposed to represent and I have read articles of Republicans attacking the personal lives of other Republicans, in order to discredit and destroy them. It’s disgusting. Yet, I don’t see this in Ladysmith. I don’t see this at the Food Lion. I don’t see this at meetings of our Board of Supervisors. If you only knew how special you are…You would be proud. You should be proud.
I’ve lived here for several elections. In Ladysmith, the Democrats who show up on election have been some of the kindest people I’ve ever worked against. They are the kind of people that, were it to rain, I could share an umbrella with. We could fight for what we believe in without ever feeling like we had to fight one another. I hope this is true in the rest of Caroline County. If it’s not, it should be.
I consider myself a federal and state activist, as well as an interested party in our County. I am not lying when I tell you that our county government is my favorite government that I have ever experienced. This is the friendliest government I have ever lived under.
This is an honor. In the present and future, we (I apologize if that sounds forward) should demand an above board government. We should despise those who seek to make the personal lives of our representatives fodder for campaign mailers. We should reject anyone that uses their position in government as a means of power over those they represent. We should reject anyone that bullies us. We should reject anyone that tries to turn Caroline County into Washington D.C. or Richmond, Va.
I want to continue living in a county where I feel comfortable sharing personal details about my life with Democrats. I want to continue living in a county where Independents invite me to political events because they can trust I’ll cover them fairly. I want to continue to live in a county where the Democrats on our Board of Supervisors are as approachable and friendly, as the Republicans. I want to continue living in a county where if anyone from our community has a flat tire, that not a single one of us would drive by them without offering them aid. I want to continue to live in a county where we put each other first.
If I wasn’t involved in Statewide or Federal politics, I might not ever appreciate where I live. My hope is that whether or not you involve yourselves in this world, in which I am absorbed, that you would appreciate what you have and that you would set the highest standards for yourselves and your representatives. Say what you will about our Congressman, our Congressman (Rob Wittman) comes to Caroline to meet with us and hear our thoughts, encouragements, and grievances. Delegates Buddy Fowler and Margaret Ransone have been some of the kindest people I’ve ever met.
Supervisors Jeff Sili and Floyd Thomas have both been kind and responsive to my inquiries. Clay Forehand, my Supervisor here in Ladysmith, despite my support for his predecessor, has been magnanimous and available to me. This is what it means to live in Caroline County.
Good Government, kind county employees, a brilliant county Administrator, and a caring and motivated Superintendent. So while our State Senators and the candidates running for State Offices treat one another abysmally, let us rise above the fray and remember that we are neighbors and friends and families first. Your kids play with their kids. When the Democrat and Republican Parties behave badly, let us treat one another respectfully. I don’t want to see anyone rubbing an election in the face of another. Presidents and Congressmen don’t wait in line in front of us at Food Lion. They don’t let you in front of them when they’ve got twenty items and you’ve got one. They don’t cook us meals when we get cancer. They don’t pray for us when we ask for prayer requests on Facebook. We do these things for one another. That’s what makes us great!
I began with the question, Can Caroline Conquer Darkness? The answer is obvious. Of course we can. We do it everyday!