We have an election every year in Virginia. Many elections result in 125 cities and counties voting one way and 8 cities and counties voting the other way. That split between Republican and Democrat is deeper than party politics. If you peel the onion below party, candidate, issues, and campaign, you get down to core differences in worldview and culture that sound boring, but really matter. And, you see that most Veterans live traditional Virginia values. They should vote them to keep them.
Virginia values are American values with a unique regional and historical touch because America started here in 1607. Moreover, the ideas which embody our values were put into writing by Virginians at our founding. While the fighting in our American Revolution started in Massachusetts, it ended in victory at Yorktown, Virginia.
Our traditional Virginia and American values begin with Natural Law and treasured God-given individual rights. Our individual liberties include the freedom of opportunities and choices in a free market economy. We cherish equality, especially after a long struggle to the victory of the Civil Rights Movement. We respect the rule of law. We do our civic duty as citizens.
Our values are summed up as family, freedom, and faith. But, voters interpret them differently.
The difference isn’t based on whether we’re Virginians by natural circumstances – who grew up in VA, by choice – who choose to live in VA, or by chance – whose address is VA because their work is here. Or even, as it is for one in ten Virginia voters, if we were born outside of these United States.
The divide is how Virginia voters answer the question, “Who decides?” differently.
Who decides – in fact – and who should decide what in your life? Your personal safety, healthcare, the education of your children and grandchildren, what kind of car you can buy, the price of energy, what jobs are available, where you live, and on and on? What should you decide for you and your family? What should government decide for you?
No matter when you came to Virginia, if you hold to family, freedom and faith and lean towards individual autonomy in tightly knit communities, then the whole of Virginia history becomes your heritage. Your contributions to your community become your Virginia legacy.
Also, Virginians have regional differences, call it subcultures, from Colonial times. They’re still here, despite the homogenization of American Culture. The words “Southern Hospitality”, “New York Minute”, and “Midwest Manners” illustrate real differences.
The two subcultures that formed Virginia were English Tidewater Cavaliers and the Frontier Scot-Irish. Other subcultures – Indian tribes, Enslaved Africans, French Huguenot refugees – assimilated into those regional sub-cultures before the Revolution. People from many others followed, especially after World War II.
You could see the difference in the past 20 years when Conservatives on the Northern Neck kept their Democrat delegate because of his family name while Conservatives in the Piedmont took out an incumbent Congressmen who offended their values. The differences aren’t night and day, but they’re interesting to see.
Meanwhile, the metropolitan crescent of NoVa, Richmond, and Tidewater (Hampton Roads) is evolving like all urban areas across America as crossroads of the world. Yet, the “live and let live” culture in Virginia makes them different from other cities and suburbs.
Veterans bring a perspective to Virginia values that every Vet should learn in basic training. Namely, there are good people of every color, shape, size, language or accent, education, social standing, and corner of America. When Veterans serve overseas, they learn the same thing applies to people from everyplace on the planet. And, if you treat people with dignity and respect you can connect person to person.
Veterans know the real value of “diversity” is what each, unique individual brings to their unit – their team. It’s the strength in unity of effort, purpose, and the selfless sacrifices individuals make for others to succeed and win. It isn’t the phony diversity of divisive political group identities. It’s how veterans call one another brother and sister – and mean it.
Veterans live the Virgina-shaped values of family, freedom, and faith. They didn’t serve in the Armed Forces of the U.S. government to be ruled and taxed excessively by government at any level. They – we – served to stay free. It’s the Virginia way. Virginia’s veterans should vote their values.
By Jim Bowden, US Army (Ret)