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The Razor's Edge

“It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of light, it was the season of darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair.” Charles Dickens, A Tale of Two Cities

One of the most recognizable opening lines in literature still resonates as powerfully today as it did in revolutionary France. It also demonstrates just how important it is that our children here in SWVA have access to a quality public education so that the significance of this lesson is not lost, and we are not doomed to repetition.

In our Country, which is divided more completely now than anytime since the Civil War, both sides lay claim to wisdom while accusing the other side of utter foolishness. Neither side being able to concede that both may possess a degree of each, it falls to the ever-shrinking middle class to find a balance that will deliver on the promises that democracy offered.

On what information can that rational middle class depend to find that balance? Consumers are offered information based on algorithms that lead a reader not to reliable and truthful information, but are the extension of previous clicks and biases that are the product of data analyzed in a cloud of manipulation.One consumer avers unwavering belief, and another, unflagging incredulity.

Even if the rational middle class were to discern the truth, do they possess the power to reclaim democracy and restore it to a sustainable model? I think the answer to that is a resounding NO. The math/numbers tell the Tale. The shrinking middle class is simply too small, and the monied interests lobbying our elected officials are too large and too rich to allow any kind of meaningful revolution.

The violence we saw on January 6th was largely waged by poor and working people at the bottom of the economy, and encouraged by the rich and powerful in whose interest it is to money and power grab while the masses riot. The inability of hard working Americans to identify the source of tyranny is certainly cause for concern. Education is the only light in that can penetrate this season of darkness. Why else would the rich and powerful be so determined to gut public education except to insure that working people stay poor and ignorant?

Although Dickens supported the idea of people rising up against tyranny, the violence that characterized the French Revolution troubled him. It should trouble us all. Almost every ill that plagues working people across this Country has its roots in one seed pod...poverty. Drug addiction, mental health issues, homelessness, domestic violence, and crime, can all attribute their paternity to poverty. In the richest Country in the world this isn't just unnecessary, it's cruel.

Electing leaders who will enact legislation that will grow the middle class and open up opportunities for working people to succeed, is essential if we are to emerge into a spring of hope rather than sink into a winter of despair. Teaching the value of education to our children and grandchildren is essential to their being the masters of their fate and not subject to being mastered.

It is my fervent hope that Rural Voters will elect those leaders this Fall, and be part of the solution that insures the promise of opportunity to the next generation. We were given that; and they deserve no less.


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