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What’s next around here?


The county convention of the Stokes County Democratic Party, April 21

In July, this blog will be eight years old. Soon I’ll reach the 1,000th post. Any blog that has been around this long is bound to go through changes and fallow periods. But I’m not going away. I’m just trying to get clear on what comes next.

One of the things I’ve had to figure out is just how much involvement I want to have in local politics. I learned during last fall’s political campaign just how exhausting local politics can be, especially when you lose. It took all winter to recover from the burnout. It’s tempting to stay hidden in the woods. I also think that local politics doesn’t make very good blog material, except insofar as the political drama here in Stokes County echoes what’s happening in other places.

I have rolled up my sleeves and decided to stay involved in local politics. Earlier this week, at the county convention of the Stokes County Democratic Party, I was elected county chairman for a two-year term. I also will continue to be involved with No Fracking in Stokes.

Rural counties like this one are in trouble. We are losing population. Our young people leave us because of the lack of jobs and lack of anything to do. Increasingly, jobs don’t pay living wages. Our social services and health departments are overwhelmed. Our schools are begging for help. Even worse here in Stokes County, it is thought that some frackable gas reserves might exist in our river basin, the Dan River basin. Conservatives and progressives have very different views on what needs to be done. Conservatives think that fracking is economic development. As a progressive, I can’t think of a quicker way to ruin and impoverish our county than to let fracking in. Our other assets, such as our state park (the most popular park in the state), our river, and our unspoiled rural beauty, have far greater economic value, economic value that would be ruined by fracking. But conservatives are suspicious of tourism, because it invites people into the county who will never vote Republican.

Conservatives want to fiddle while Rome burns and measure their performance by how low the tax rate is. The burning political issue in this county at the moment (other than a county budget that is not going to balance without a tax increase) is whether emblazoning “In God We Trust” on the side of the county courthouse requires that the county similarly emblazon “In Reason We Trust.” This comes on the heels of a drawn-out and divisive fight in the town of King about flying the Christian flag at a veterans’ memorial. It led to a lawsuit, which conservatives predictably lost. Conservatives somehow convince themselves that symbolic and sentimental issues like these are the things that matter most and around which our futures turn. Meanwhile, Republicans in Raleigh are busy selling off the state to the highest bidder. A test well to look for frackable gas is going to be drilled soon in the little Stokes County town of Walnut Cove. Our own state tax dollars will be paying for the drilling.

Our work is cut out for us.


An all-Republican board of county commissioners hears about “In Reason We Trust.”


  1. chenda wrote:

    Great to hear from you David, your blog remains one of my favourites.

    Tuesday, April 28, 2015 at 2:32 pm | Permalink
  2. Dan wrote:

    Congrats on sticking to your guns.

    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 4:01 pm | Permalink
  3. Jo wrote:

    If “they” believe fracking will not impact the environment, did “they” fail to hear how earthquakes increased many-fold in Oklahoma after fracking became big business there. Where did common sense go? Thank goodness for those like you that are willing to roll up their sleeves and fight for what is right. No friggin’ fracking!!!!!

    Thursday, April 30, 2015 at 10:35 pm | Permalink

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