By their fruits you will know them (….) — Matthew 7:16a
The Roanoke Times did us a service, I believe, with its May 5 editorial: “Why must Southwest Virginia wait on the rest of the state?”
(1) Obviously in these challenging times, virus numbers and the overall situation are ever-changing. The editorial cited exact illness numbers in our part of Virginia. Since the article is over three weeks old, specific data have changed. Still, the overall pattern stays the same: Western Virginia generally has far lower virus prevalence than more urban areas of the state, especially Northern Virginia and Richmond. The Times simply asked, “Why not let Southwest Virginia open first?” in response to Governor Northam’s May 4 announcement to reopen the whole state together.
As we now know, Northam has since agreed to regional opening, although “in reverse.” Instead of letting a few areas reopen first while holding back the rest, he has allowed most of the state to reopen to “Phase One” while holding back Northern Virginia, Richmond City, and Accomack County on the Eastern Shore. (Local leaders there requested their areas delay their openings. Now, those regions are to enter “Phase One” on May 29.)
We know the old saying, “Actions speak louder than words.” But in Governor Northam’s case, this is especially true: don’t focus on what he says; focus on what he does. His soft-spoken, Tidewater drawl and folksy, “aw shucks” persona mask an anti-liberty extremism.
The Roanoke Times quoted the governor from May 4 on why he did not want to reopen Southwest Virginia first: “We’d be picking winners and losers.” That claim sounds great, but it is bunk. Governments, whether led by Democrats or Republicans, pick winners and losers all the time.
Many of us are filing taxes now. Think about the tax codes, both state and local. They create winners and losers. Who are some of the winners? Those who pay no tax, or get money back. In 2018, mammoth Amazon paid $0 in federal income tax.
(2) Who are some of the losers? Those who have to pay taxes. In general, the more you earn, the more the government takes away in taxes.
Many “essential employees” were up in arms recently when they learned that unemployed folks (granted, in this pandemic, unemployed through no fault of their own) were getting $600 extra per week thanks to the Congress’ recent relief package, while those who stayed at work performing essential services–sometimes putting their own health in jeopardy–got no raise.
In a perverse twist, the federal government made many who lost their jobs “winners” by getting paid more than if they had stayed on the job, while “essential workers” were “losers” who kept working, often in harm’s way, without the $600 weekly boost.
Again, if we only look at his actions, we will see Northam clearly relishes “picking winners and losers.” Just last month, he signed a bill to force most of Virginia’s six remaining coal-fired power plants to close by the end of 2024. This new law makes workers and communities that still rely on coal “losers,” as well as the rest of us Virginians who will see our electricity bills go up as a result.
(3) From the start of this shut-down, Northam put the kibosh on “elective medical treatments,” but he made sure to keep the abortion chambers up and running. How handy: The abortionists are “winners” in that they keep their “business model” flowing, and their quid pro quo is to keep making political contributions to the governor and Democrat party, making them “winners” too.
The biggest “losers” in this are the unborn children whose lives are snuffed out while our politicians like Northam boast about “keeping all Virginians safe.”
Further trying to explain why Southwest Virginia should not open first, The Roanoke Times continued: “Northam rightly says he doesn’t want to create more divisions in society.”
Again, that sounds good, but if you look at his actions, you will find that claim hard to swallow. When have we seen a more divisive governor? Never in my lifetime. My guess would be, the last time Virginia had a more divisive governor would have been Democrat John Letcher, who led the state from 1860-1864: Letcher oversaw the Old Dominion secede from the Union in 1861 and two years later saw the western third of the state, feeling alienated, secede to form a new state, West Virginia. That Civil War killed some 620,000 Americans.
During the three month spree from last January to April, when Democrats controlled the General Assembly, Northam oversaw, egged on, and signed into law a divisive agenda deeply offensive to much of the state, especially most of Southwest Virginia: gun rights, right to life, religious freedom, school choice, freedom of conscience and association, right to work, limited government, election integrity, economic freedom…you name it…all were subject to the Democrats’ repeated blows.
In a a grotesque gesture, Northam chose Good Friday to sign laws that stripped the unborn of some of their few protections in the state. The Democrats’ frontal blitzkrieg was almost dizzying in its speed and breadth, in their rush to transmogrify Virginia into some East Coast version of California.
In sum, by his policies and priorities, Governor Northam has shown his deep disregard for most people in Southwest Virginia. Why should we expect any special favors or attention from him now?
As long as he is our governor, the biggest loser is our State.