I recently asked two of my Political Science classes to write up a short essay on the following question:
Are West Virginians generally more liberal or conservative? Do you think that the current political attitudes in this area are a positive or a negative thing?
What follows are some of the responses. Again, these are exact quotes, they are anonymous, and they do not necessarily reflect my opinions. I've posted them here in order to give a snapshot of the attitudes of college age students in the heart of Appalachia. For those who do not know, West Virginia has traditionally been a Democratic state. Although the number of registered Democrats far outweigh the number of registered Republicans, West Virginia has voted for the Republican presidential candidate in each of the last three elections. Therefore, I decided to ask my students to write about what they thought. The results are quite interesting .... to say the least.
“When Reagan was president we had Bob Hope and Johnny Cash; now that Obama is president we have no hope and no cash.”
“The Madison area is conservative because of the coal mines.”
“Without a doubt, the people of southern West Virginia are much more conservative than liberal.”
“Conservative is the side that the Savior is on.”
“West Virginians are very conservative when it comes to change, and you rarely see change. Most of my family and friends and neighbors are old-fashioned people.”
“People here like to raise their families with strong morals and a strong sense of what they feel is right and wrong. For example, to people in California and other liberal areas, homosexuality is not such a big deal, whereas, in our area, it is heavily frowned upon because it isn’t “right.” By right, they mean what they interpret from The Bible as to how to live their lives.”
“As for the legalizing of marijuana, that is also a problem in my area. There are a lot of people that live in my area who use marijuana and I’m sure they would love it if it were legalized so they wouldn’t have to sneak around.”
“Even though the people are mainly Democrats, the times are changing so rapidly that they’re starting to lean to the right and are becoming more conservative.”
“Democrats are also trying to silence churches by not letting them preach about certain topics such as gay rights and other issues. They have taken prayer out of schools completely.”
“In West Virginia there is a surplus of lower class people who depend on a redistribution of wealth.”
“In West Virginia everyone wants a free handout.”
“The people in my area are mostly liberal because all they want to do is sit on their ass and get a welfare check when they are completely able to work.”
“One hypocritical issue is that no one in my community wants the government’s involvement until they need help. Most of the people in my community say that they do not want the government to interfere with their everyday lives, yet they abuse the welfare and social security system so that they don’t have to work.”
Quite a collection of quotes, isn't it? I would love to read what some of you think. So if you have comments, please share. Until next time..
- C. Belmont Keeney
- I'm an author, historian (Ph.D., WVU), musician, professor, and mountaineer. I have published two books, To Live Again, a classical myth set in contemporary Appalachia, and Defending the Homeland, a collection of essays on radicalism and national security. Welcome to my blog.