West Virginia can’t wait

As we approach the holidays, I reflect on the reason for Thanksgiving. Yes, in school we were taught the Pilgrims gathered to eat the food the native inhabitants taught them to grow. So, the gathering was more of a harvest feast.

What is Thanksgiving like today? Hours of shopping, cooking, flying to all parts of the country, driving all over the country to visit family, eat a huge meal, watch endless football games, take a long nap and prepare for the mass run on the stores for the best bargains for Christmas gifts. That sounds like a really fun day.

Why do we spend so much on food and travel? We say it is because family is so important. Some organizations provide free meals for the less fortunate or those who are not able to meet family. At this time of year we seem to be in a giving spirit and to think of others. What about the rest of the year?

Why isn’t every day a day of Thanksgiving and sharing? Why do we have such discrepancies in income and treatment of people?

In this divided time, I find some hope in a young man who has visited all 55 counties at least twice, held way over 100 town halls, asking common people to give their input on a platform for his candidacy for governor of West Virginia. The first time I met him, he did not tell me his plan but asked me what concerned me the most in our state? This was a first for me.

I am referring to Stephen Smith, whose campaign slogan is WV Can’t Wait. No, we cannot wait as money is transferred to the road fund and then removed. We cannot wait when legislators did not listen to us and decided to start three charter schools even though we said “NO.”

We cannot wait as money continues to leave this rich state on the railroad cars, river barges, pipelines, etc. We cannot wait as pharmaceutical companies rip off people making poverty-level wages. We cannot wait while fossil fuel companies are subsidized and no help is given to renewables.

We need people in Charleston who will work for us, not the Koch brothers, big banks, large pharmaceutical companies, etc.

This young man and those who will be running for various offices in the state will not take contributions from corporations. His campaign is funded entirely by small donations.

I have often thought about the words of Abraham Lincoln that we have a “government of the people, for the people and by the people.” Stephen Smith’s plan is the closest I have seen to this. He is encouraging as many people as possible to run for office so we have a team, not one person as head of the state.

What am I thankful for this season? I am thankful for a young man, his wife and son, who have the courage to truly help us live in a democracy where we respect all, work for the common good, and truly make West Virginia a beautiful place to live and raise a family.

Margaret Meeker



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