Give thanks in all circumstances (….) — 1 Thessalonians 5:18
Some have called gratitude “the greatest of all virtues.” In other words, if we are thankful for what we have, that helps pave the way for more successes in the future. As motivational speaker Zig Ziglar put it, “The more you thank God for the things you have, the more things you will have to thank God for.” Even the Bible records Jesus commending a non-Jewish leper who took the time to express gratitude.
Back in November, as we were entering the Thanksgiving Season, I was surprised to get an email announcing that Virginia’s Governor-Elect Glenn Youngkin was planning a “Thank you Tour” across the Commonwealth to express his gratitude to all his supporters. I do not know about you, but that struck me as remarkable. We are all familiar with candidates barnstorming before elections, but how often do you hear of a victorious candidate coming back later to say “Thank you”?
Youngkin scheduled one stop of his tour at CommUNITY Church at 1923 East Main St. in Salem at noon on Friday, November 19. An enthusiastic crowd gathered in the basement fellowship hall. Many held the red “Youngkin Governor” signs that had been ubiquitous along Virginia roadsides in the weeks leading up to November 2. With the 1969 hit “Spirit in the Sky” playing, Pastor Thomas McCracken and Youngkin strode onto the platform. McCracken explained that actually Youngkin had made two previous public appearances at the church, both times in the sanctuary. However he continued, “Here at CommUNITY Church, the fellowship hall is for members, so since we’re meeting in the fellowship hall, you’re not a guest any more, but an honorary member of the church.”
When the lanky 6’7” Youngkin took the mic the crowd fell silent and some of the first words out of his mouth were “Thank you.” He explained he came to express not only his and his wife’s personal gratitude, but also that of his running-mates Winsome Sears and Jason Miyares and their families as well. He began to tick off the many ways countless Virginians had contributed to their resounding victory. He thanked those who made phone calls, knocked on doors, handed out sample ballots, observed polls, put a sign in their yard, encouraged their friends and family to vote, and personally voted.
He spoke for some 25-30 minutes, with the same focused, high-energy delivery that had helped propel him to victory. Below are a few remarks he made:
- “Governors do not create jobs. Businesses and people do.” To rousing cheers he declared “Virginia will be open for business on Day One.” He claimed he planned to cut red tape so that the private sector will be unleashed as our economic engine to generate jobs and wealth.
- “Make government work for us and stop telling us what to do.” Here he tapped into a widespread frustration that many Americans have: that over the years, we have gotten into the place where the citizens exist to serve the government instead of the other way around as originally envisioned.
- “I do not believe in vaccine mandates. I keep telling you over and over. I do believe in the vaccine! I encourage you to get it, but it’s not my job to tell you to do it.” Addressing the issues of jabs and masks for children and teens, he added, “And parents believe what’s best for your children. (…) We are going to fire the state health commissioner. (…) And on Day One, rescind the mandate to have all kids k-12 wear masks in schools.”
- “We will have a statewide audit of all state agencies and start with the VEC and DMV.” Youngkin promised to bring his private business and leadership acumen to the state bureaucracy, to make it more effective and responsive to the needs of the citizens. On that line of thought he added, “I look forward to Richmond coming to you instead of you always having to go to Richmond.”
- He also repeated his campaign pledge to fire the entire scandal-plagued parole board in Richmond which repeatedly broke state law and released criminals prematurely, some whom are still violent. Speaking here in the Valley, that was a direct reference to Roanoke City Mayor Sherman Lea, who is a member of that parole board but who still refuses to publicly answer questions about his involvement in it.
Youngkin wrapped up his remarks with a three-point “action list” for his audience.
- Seeking to maintain the momentum from the campaign, Yougkin challenged the audience: “Do not allow this to become a snapshot. Instead, think of it as a motion picture. Stay engaged.” The GOP upset victory not only shocked the Old Dominion, but sent shock waves across the nation. Youngkin does not want his supporters to view this as a “one and done” matter so they can rest on their laurels and go back to sleep, but rather see the November 2 election as just one step on a long, challenging road to restoring liberty and common sense to our land.
- “Pray for us.” Without sounding preachy, Youngkin has openly talked about how faith has played a key role in his life and also the campaign, and how spiritual guidance and strength are needed for the road ahead.
- “Go ahead and leave the red signs in your yard for a while…because I have no problem with taking a victory lap or two….”
The new administration is to take their oaths of office on Saturday, January 15, 2022, at the State Capitol in Richmond.