A great awakening is emerging in America. People from the great diversity of our national experience are coming together because, as a society, we have more common interests than in those that divide us. Democracy has been breaking out all over Virginia as well, and Culpeper is no exception.
Ever since the Women’s March on Washington, last January 21st, we have seen the growth of new progressive activism across the Commonwealth. More than one hundred grass roots organizations have been formed, including the Culpeper Persisters, the Madison Huddle, and Fauquier Indivisible. The Persisters, in particular, have had an impressive number of accomplishments in just one year. Check them out on Facebook.
In Virginia, we saw an explosion of Democratic Party candidates in House of Delegate races where there had never been any competition, including right here with our very own Ben Hixon and Tristan Shields. They offered distinct alternatives to Republican incumbents Nick Freitas and Michael Webert. Freitas blew off his own constituents to set the foundations for his Tea Party campaign against reactionary Corey Stewart to oppose Senator Tim Kaine. Hixon’s vigorous campaign against this cynical abandonment of citizens of the 30th District resulted in his getting more votes than any other Democratic candidate in many years.
Energetic Democratic candidates across the state, particularly women, provided a magnetic core around which people could rally and openly express their commitment to liberty and freedom for all. They came from a diverse range of backgrounds, but all spoke to common issues of improving lives, creating jobs, providing real healthcare, solving the opioid crisis, legalizing cannabis, enhancing education, handling traffic problems, and promoting rural internet connectivity. These were serious and pragmatic neighbors standing up and offering their talents to the community. And, they won. Only the luck of the draw kept them from overturning the musty, reactionary traditions that had mummified Richmond.
In our 7th Congressional District, Democrats Helen Alli, Diane Fraser, Abigail Spanberger, and Dan Ward are vying to challenge our incumbent congressman, Dave Brat – a creature of the now-ousted Steve Bannon and his Alt-Right cronies – who has noticeably avoided his constituents by hiding behind friendly Facebook photo opportunities in recent weeks. After touting himself as an economist, a fiscal conservative, and, as usual, a seminary graduate, he voted with the rest of the irresponsible Republicans for the biggest ever tax bill giveaway to the wealthy and huge corporations, increasing the national debt by over one and a half trillion dollars over the next ten years. His vote was neither good economics nor charitable to our grandchildren, who will have to pay the Republican piper down the road. He needs to be retired this November.
More than one hundred interested citizens gathered on the second floor of the A.P. Hill building at the corner of Main & Davis on the evening of January 4th to watch the election of an entirely new slate of leaders for the Culpeper County Democratic Committee for 2018-2019. The new team is headed by the very same Ben Hixon and Tristan Shields, who campaigned for an open and transparent, inclusive, robust and activist program Everyone is welcome and encouraged to attend the next meeting on January 25th.
Be a part of this awakening. We should not fear arousing the Alt-Right. Let’s allow them to show the rest of us how disturbed and out of touch with reality they really are. We must not apologize for being Democrats in Culpeper, but shout it from the rooftops. Most importantly, make your vote count in the quiet of the ballot box on Tuesday, November 6th.
Editor’s Note: This has re-posted with the author’s permission, and originally appeared in the January 14th print edition of the Culpeper Star Exponent, and appears on-line here, and here on Blue Louisa.