While I sit comfortably sniffing sea air; I sometimes read my hometown newspaper, the Herald-Dispatch
, a Gannet paper with a broad readership in southern West Virginia. West Virginia is the state that makes national news once every four years when it is mentioned as a battleground
I won't give you a snapshot of the local political scene; instead, please bear with me as I quote extensively from the paper.
First, a letter from a reader.
Communists are still trying to destroy U.S.
If we consider that the latest threats against the United States of America are all against financial institutions, which are symbols of capitalism, and that the largest of these symbols, "The World Trade Center," was attacked twice, it should be obvious to all of us that their goal is to destroy capitalism.
Did you really think that communism was dead? Americans have been propagandized into thinking so, but communists never quit trying. They have under many names and guises been attempting to destroy us for many decades and are in a good position to do so now if they can fool us into voting the wrong way.
Who are these people who oppose everything we try to do in our dealings with the world? They are Muslim extremists, disgruntled and jealous French and German leaders and tyrants like Saddam. They are also liberal extremists here in our own country who want to see us fail.
Could the Socialists of the world be about to enter the final phase of their century long revolution? We cannot let this happen. Vote for George Bush in November, and remember that free enterprise capitalism has made us into the greatest country in the world and kept us free.
John Bruce Kennedy, Wayne WV
Next, a quote from an article about freshmen at Marshall University:
"Coming from the small town of Weston in central West Virginia, 18-year-old Marshall freshman Kaycee Heater wasn’t ready for the amount of studying or number of people she would encounter during her entry into college life. Heater also wasn’t prepared to be in the midst of such a diverse student body."
Ah, yes, that troublesome diversity. The article ends by explaining the problem of Marshal's diverse enrollment:
• 82.6% White
• 4.8% Black
• 0.8% Hispanic
• 1.4% Asian/Pacific Islander
• 0.3% American Indian/Alaskan
• 10.1% Unknown
Now, prepare yourselves for another reader's letter, a wonderfully nauseating collection of cliches, adages, and trite inanity, in a little piece I think of as "What the Fuck is a Tare?"
Judge your own life, not others’
Have you heard the expressions, "Get a life" Or "Go fly a kite" or "Row your own boat"?
So much grief could be avoided if every person looked at his or her own accountability before God. There are so many people who desire to critique your life. They assume they have the "right" to be the Holy Spirit in your life.
The ungodly, by picking apart your life’s motives, seem to think they can take the spotlight off their own sinful mistakes and shortcomings.
We each stand accountable for no one but ourselves. Believers are admonished to examine our own hearts. God keeps accurate records by individual names.
If you are tempted to throw stones at anyone else, remember this: "Those who live in glass houses should not throw stones."
Break God’s laws and one day you will be broken by them. It’s an irrefutable law.
There’s the law of sowing and reaping. This applies to the positive as well as the negative.
Church member, religious or otherwise, remember that God allows tares to grow up beside the wheat. One day, the righteous judge will reveal which is which.
Tare or wheat, which one are you? Only you and God knows the answer.
Barbara Lynn Spurlock, Huntington, WV
I added the boldface.
And now, selected quotes from an article about Cheney's last visit to the state.
Cheney asks friendly W.Va. audience to tag along
CLARKSBURG, W.Va. -- Doddridge County teenager Dave Medlock likes to hunt every fall and he even bagged a deer two years ago.
So when Vice President Dick Cheney spoke about the right of Americans to have a gun, Medlock perked up.
"I really like him standing up for the Second Amendment," Medlock, 16, of New Milton, said after listening to Cheney during a visit to Clarksburg on Tuesday.
Both young and older West Virginians at a National Guard armory seemed to find something that appealed to them in Cheney’s speech, his second in West Virginia in as many days.
And Cheney warmed up quickly to his audience of about 1,000, inviting them to tag along on the campaign trail. "What are you doing for the next 49 days?" he said with a laugh.
Cheney touched on many issues he spoke about Monday near the Raleigh County Memorial Airport. He assured the crowd Tuesday that West Virginia coal is key to the nation’s energy plan.
Cheney also spoke out against so-called partial birth abortions and for keeping the Pledge of Allegiance unchanged.
"We believe Americans ought to say ’under God’ when pledging allegiance to the flag," Cheney said.
That comment hit home with retired Army instructor John Orosz of Bridgeport.
"I’m a firm believer in that," Orosz said, a miniature U.S. flag in his shirt pocket. "That’s a turnoff if anybody tries to talk about taking that away from me."
West Virginia is considered among a handful of battleground states, with most polls finding Bush and Kerry in a dead heat.
[Outrage added] Bush carried West Virginia in 2000 despite Democrats outnumbering Republicans by about 2-1. However, Democrat Al Gore won Harrison County by 61 votes.
Cheney also visited Wheeling in early July, while Bush has made nine appearances in the state this year.
I'll just tell you this about another article: the city of Huntington is pressuring the State Attorney General to drop a lawsuit against a predatory lender because the lender has threatened to close its local office, laying off 600 workers, if the suit goes forward.
Okay, there you have it. This is our battleground and my creeping despair.
I'll leave you now for a while. I'm sad and tired and I need to go read my Bible. Or maybe something by George Orwell.