Good men are hard to find. Remember hearing that one? (and all the bad jokes, yes, I remember them, too.) I almost never get involved in politics on this blog... unless you know me pretty well, you won't hear much about my political inclinations. I was born into a Republican household, but I was also taught to think for myself somewhere along the line. I can honestly say I am generally above politics - if I like you and what you truly stand for based on what you have done, I will vote for you and support you to the end of the earth. I do think for myself. So, I am going to make my big political statement here... no surprise to some... I am first and foremost against war. I do not believe we have any business being in Iraq or Afghanistan, no business at all. My idea of supporting the troops is to bring them home. Those who love carrying guns, shooting people, hiding behind a uniform or in a tank, we have numerous mercenary groups who are looking for folks like that. With that out of the way, I will not vote for someone who wants to drag us into a war, bomb Iran, or to whom God has supposedly told to get elected and bomb Iraqis, Iranians, or any other group. I am still a Flower Child. That said...
Last week I had an opportunity to meet our former governor and current Senator, Mark Warner. He was Not here campaigning - Senators serve 6 year terms, he has 2 to go. He was just HERE... asking US what was on our minds, what he could do to make life better. It is seldom politicians come to little back water areas like ours even when they are campaiging. Anyway, he was here, there were NO prepared speeches, he read no notes, nothing was written on his hand, nobody stood near-by passing over cheat notes... he just talked WITH us, not TO us. Our Delegate, Lynwood Lewis, introduced him, and turned the floor over to Warner. After a few moments about what was going on in DC and where he stood and a plea for folks to work together, he opened the floor for questions. Folks were civilized (is that a good word? I am beginning to question that term.) and cordial. I jumped in on the No Child Left Behind discussion stating that teachers who read the law knew it was a bad deal from day One... He listened. It was like a conversation with a neighbor, one you like! He was animated, but I think that is just his way of speaking. I wondered how well he could speak if his arms were tied down! He never talked down to us, but then, not to be concieted, the vast majority of the crowd was educated, most with at least a Master's degree.
The Shore has been fortunate. We have had several excellent men representing us, men who cared more about serving the shore than serving their own political interests. One was Republican, and I would vote for him in a heartbeat if he ran again. One is a Democrat, and I will vote for him again in November. Both are men that I cannot find anything to criticize - and trust me, I am good at that! I have known Bob Bloxom most of my life. They don't make them any better than Bob. Actually, Bob was screwed by members of his own party because he voted FOR those of us who voted for him, and not always with his party. Sometimes we get folks in office that are NOT politicians... they are the folks we want who will represent US! Often, the politicians then work to get rid of them.
I had Senator Ralph Northam in school when he was just a little boy - my first year of teaching. He was a sweetheart then and he is the same today (only taller!) Ralph is a neurological pediatric surgeon at Children's Hospital of the King's Daughters in Norfolk when he is not in Richmond, and does a lot of work pro bono. I guess the Tea Baggers would call him a socialist (unless it was their child or grandchild he was caring for and they were out of work, had no insurance, no income, etc.) but I just call him one hell of a good man. A man of compassion. An HONEST man - a rare bird in these times. You might think I am dreaming, but I know these men are actually listening to me when I talk to them about something. They don't just say "unh huh," and shake my hand (They are all good huggers!) and not hear a word. They are real people first, politicians last. They are in office to serve those of us who put them there, not the BIG corporations that now own most politicians. They are not there for the money or glory or because they want to bomb somebody or finally make "Poppy" proud.
If you ever have a chance to vote for one of these great men, please do so.
Mark Warner was a good governor and has tried to be as bi-partisan as he could be in DC, working for the good of the People and not for the crippling of the government or the ruin of a president. It takes a lot to impress me... and I am impressed. If the time comes that he chooses to run for a higher office, I certainly would not hesitate to vote for him.