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Don't Tell Me What to Do / I Don't Want to have to Think

"Don't tell me what to do" is a very SWVA state of mind. We are, by nature, fiercely independent. We take pride in being both self sufficient and generous...on our own terms.

History has shown us time and again that when flat-landers and outsiders come in, they come because this is a beautiful place, and so different than the place they came from; yet they immediately start to try to turn this place into the one they came from. Don't tell me what to do. We have thought about it, and have been doing it this way for generations, and we are happy in those ways and traditions. If we wanted to do it differently, we would. Thank you very much. That is the SWVA way, and there is nothing wrong with that.

What happens though, when you add a heaping helping of "I don't want to have to think"? Nothing good, that's for sure. Rugged individualism suddenly becomes willful ignorance. No generation can afford not to have to think. We have to think because actions and inaction have consequences.

Whether or not my kids attend school and value education will determine whether they can earn a living wage. Whether or not I am a responsible parent will determine whether or not my family prospers. Whether or not we are curious and eager to understand things around us will determine whether or not we walk with confidence through the world and all its complications.

There is no shortcut or substitute for thinking. Putting an "R" or a "D" beside a person's name tells you very little about who they are and whether or not they will lead effectively. If you think it does then you are mistaken. If someone tells you that they are a person of faith, the only proof of that will be in their actions. Does their life reflect that, or is it just an empty assertion? We have a duty to ask whether or not a person seeking public office wants to actually serve the public, or is about personal ambition? Those are very different agendas and we will get what we vote for.

We have to think critically about the things that impact the quality and quantity of the life we have been given:

Our health and access to medicine and treatments that help us remain healthy are critical to both quality and quantity of life.

Quality childcare is critical to our ability to work and raise a healthy family. Quality public education is the single largest determinant of economic security.

Public safety and the welfare of our elderly and special needs populations say much more about us as a people than corporate profits or 2nd homes. This is not a zero sum game. More for you does not mean less for me. That is a myth and a lie.

So think damnit! It is only when we have taken the time and the care to make a considered decision that we can confidently say: "Don't tell me what to do"


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