Blue Louisa: A blog Covering Central Virginia & national politics from a progressive perspective
The front page of last week’s edition of The Central Virginian shows us just how Looney Tunes things can get.
A 16-year-old allegedly shot and murdered one Louisa County resident and wounded his wife, while our board of supervisors is considering a resolution making Louisa a sanctuary county for firearms.
Can anyone tell me how those two articles are compatible? Sure, there’s a lot of fear of what that new government majority will do, but let’s not knock out our front teeth with a massive knee jerk.
There’s a lot of quoting the Second Amendment, specifically “… the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.” But that’s the second part of the amendment.
The whole amendment reads, “A well regulated Militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”
So are we to believe the 16-year-old was part of a well regulated militia? Who trained him, who taught him, who regulates him?
This is like saying the Ten Commandments say “…commit adultery,” leaving out the qualifier “Thou shalt not ...”!
I’m a gun owner, shooter, hunter, veteran and former National Rifle Association member (before the NRA decided there was more money in politics than in training young people how to be safe with firearms). I see no problem with waiting times and federal regulations regarding fully automatic weapons. I have no problem with cross-relating forms of abuse, mental illness, crisis intervention and the like resulting in the confiscation of weapons.
I have a real problem with having our board of supervisors passing meaningless, unenforceable resolutions. It’s a stunt.
Editor’s Note: this letter originally appeared in the November 27th edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
Beyond the fearful rhetoric; what Supervisor Duane Adams is really proposing with his call for the Board to declare Louisa County a “Second Amendment Sanctuary,” is a return to the mentality that fueled the massive resistance movement against school desegregation in the late 1950’s.
Judging from the comments on the Central Virginian’s FB page, it’s clear many see themselves as proud “resisters” against a conspiracy to deprive them of their rights, when a confederacy of dunces marching to someone else’s agenda is closer to the mark.
Less obvious, is the reality that NRA and VCDL propaganda is driving this astroturfed movement, and state and local Republicans are openly exploiting it. Since losing the General Assembly this past election, they will no longer be able to abuse their majority to kill common sense legislature in unrecorded committee votes.
And their decade’s long legacy of under funding our schools, favoring corporate interests over their constituents, and suppressing voter turnout with no consequences has come to a abrupt halt. Rather than acknowledge that reality, Republican's have made it clear that they are unwilling to work with Democratic Party leaders, and have chosen to undermine not just the General Assembly’s ability to function, but local government as well with distractions like this.
Determined to dial those fears up past 11 in county after county, hoping it will propel them to electoral victory in 2020, a majority in the General Assembly in 2021, along with manipulating the emotionally triggered into helping them maintain their stranglehold on rural county Boards across the state.
Speaking of fear, reportedly some Supervisors have been told on no uncertain terms, that if they didn’t support this, that the local Republican Party would run candidates against them. While that’s certainly their prerogative, such tactics have consequences.
Starting with irreparably damaging what little trust exists between the board members on an already sharply divided board. Should the Board “get along to go along,” and pass an unenforceable resolution with no legal standing, they will have set themselves down a path of violating the Commonwealth’s “Dillon Rules.” And should it be challenged in court, it will ensure that the County wastes taxpayer money defending the indefensible.
The Board of Supervisors has no legal or moral justification for supporting obsolete notions like nullification, and massive resistance to legislation that has yet to pass the General Assembly.
While such “we ain’t going to take no shit” attitudes may resonate with the local yahoo’s, in practice passing this resolution is far more likely to ensure results like last weeks story about 16 year old with mental health issues, due to a lack of legal jurisdiction.
Shame on Mr. Adams for foisting this travesty on the citizens of Louisa, and shame anyone who supports these antediluvian notions, and for allowing fear to control their actions.
Editor’s Note: This is an expanded version of a letter submitted to the Central Virginian for their upcoming November 27th issue.
The Nov. 5 election completed Virginia’s progression from red to blue, although not in Culpeper or its neighboring counties. For the first time in a generation, Democrats took control of both houses of the General Assembly.
Republicans fought this election with their usual vitriol and misrepresentation, while rarely offering problem-solving proposals.
During the time they controlled the General Assembly, Republicans blocked most meaningful legislation aimed at practical solutions to serious problems, usually by not allowing it out of committee.
After only 90 minutes, they shut down the governor’s special legislative session on gun violence in response to the Virginia Beach shootings and relegated any action to a commission. Then, just this past week, that Republican-controlled commission issued a mere three-page report without any recommendations.
Political observers note that Virginia Republicans outside Northern Virginia have been stepping to the right and boosting narrow partisanship at every opportunity.
Culpeper Republicans censured GOP Sens. Emmett Hanger and Jill Vogel, and even removed these candidates’ names from the Republican sample ballot mailed out across the county. Furthermore, the Culpeper Republicans made every effort to advertise down-ballot candidates as Republican, even though Virginia ballots do not list party designation for offices below House of Delegates and state Senate.
This ill-advised partisan labeling does not well serve our local community. For example, a School Board member is also in charge of Culpeper Republican party campaign events, including staging demonstrations for President Trump, instead of focusing on improving our local schools.
Culpeper Republicans are now characterized by Corey Stewart’s brand of Republicanism: immigrant-bashing, gun-loving, women’s healthcare-controlling, trash-talking, Trump-lionizing, and the like.
Del. Nick Freitas, who is on the libertarian side of the conservative spectrum, is equally in limbo. He had hoped to position himself for a congressional race in 2020. Emerging from a hard-right small county in the northern part of the 7th Congressional District will not help him in the suburbs of Richmond, regardless of how much money outside libertarian millionaires put into the race.
Democratic control of Virginia House and Senate committees means Culpeper’s five Republican legislators could be isolated, impacting the farmers, businesspeople and families they represent. If these lawmakers fail to find practical ways to influence legislation, such as adopting a veneer of bipartisanship, as Loudon County Republicans have done, they will be ignored.
While Culpeper Republicans are on the outside looking in, the new legislature will work on important issues that have not been addressed in years.
Passage of the Equal Rights Amendment may be first on the list. It is unsettling that full citizenship rights for women and freed African-American slaves have required specific constitutional protections.
Virginia’s formulas for funding of rural schools should come under scrutiny. Reducing gun violence by enacting expanded background checks and red-flag laws should be a top priority. There will be no legislation that takes away anyone’s guns.
We should see continued support for the bipartisan constitutional amendment that will create Virginia’s first-ever redistricting commission and, hopefully, end gerrymandering in the commonwealth once and for all. Culpeper voters would welcome this. Many found this last election confusing because the county was divided into three state Senate and two House districts that required 17 different ballots.
Elections have consequences. Culpeper Republicans may be right that change is coming. The new Blue Virginia will be significantly different, and that’s what most Virginia voters want.
Editor’s Note: this originally appeared in the Culpeper Star Exponent and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
We need change in Richmond. I believe that change is voting Juanita Jo Matkins into office.
Living in the richest country in the world, we should all have the opportunity to become prosperous. That’s not what we have right now. The evidence of this is the vast disparity between the billionaire class and the many who work more than one job and still can’t afford the basics. Something is not working and it’s not because people are lazy.
It’s because a lack of education, especially in early childhood, can prevent a person from obtaining the necessary tools to succeed. It’s because poor health and medical emergencies can destroy a family’s savings and cause them to lose their home. It’s because too many jobs do not pay a living wage. The children suffer the most and the cycle continues.
Having to choose between medicine, food and housing puts a person in a situation none of these proud billionaires (who claim to have made it on their own) would be able to extricate themselves from. And yet some members of the House of Delegates and Senate voted last winter against bills designed to alleviate this situation, both in the areas of health care and education. Instead they voted for House Bills 1027 and 2260 and Senate Bill 1674, all of which undermine health insurance by allowing insurance companies to insure healthier people separately. Those healthy people aren’t always going to be so healthy. Then what?
These members also voted against expanding access to pre-k education, where inequality starts, as well as against providing additional funding to low-income school districts in order to close achievement gaps. (House Bill 1700-136 #3h and #10h)
We need a delegate who believes we can all prosper if we have access to the tools. Vote for Juanita Jo Matkins. She has been in the trenches. Having taught school for 20 years in Louisa County, she has seen promise die in young minds for lack of needed supports. She knows what would have prevented these tragedies. She will work for solutions to these problems and move us toward a society that works for all of us.
Editor’s Note: this letter originally appeared in the October 31st edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission
I’m voting for Juanita Jo Matkins for delegate next Tuesday, Nov. 5th, and I hope you will too.
Her heart and mind will be on the job of bringing the voice of the people of Louisa to Richmond. She will be focused on solving the problems facing us here. She knows our district and she understands rural issues, such as lack of internet. She will spend her time and energy working on our problems.
Our legislators are only in Richmond for a short time each year. But that doesn’t make it a part-time job. It takes year-round work to find solutions to the problems facing the citizens of the Commonwealth. Juanita Jo will be spending her time between legislative sessions hard at work for us. Being recently retired, she has the time and has publicly committed to representing us in Virginia’s General Assembly for the full term of service.
Juanita Jo Matkins has lived in Louisa for over 40 years. She taught school in Louisa for 20 years. She grew up on a tobacco farm. She not only understands our needs, but she also knows how to work in a bipartisan way to solve problems. We need her voice in Richmond.
Editor’s Note: this letter originally appeared in the October 31st edition of the Central Virginian, and has been re-posted here with the author’s permission.
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