20 December 2006

NoVa and RoVa: not so different after all

A few months back, the Post published a glaringly offensive piece comparing the alleged differences between Northern Virginia (NoVa) and the rest of Virginia (RoVa). Aside from being painfully classist, smug, and elitist, the piece is generally not deserving of comment because it's so grossly exaggerated. Nonetheless, the point was that NoVa was this bastion of liberal modernity while RoVa was full of dirt eating hicks who do math on their fingers and can't really spell. In a season of particularly intense political campaigning in the state, the point of the piece seemed to be that NoVa really is superior, even if its political desires (electing liberal Democrats) somehow were to be drowned out by RoVa's clamor for conservatism. One particular gem including this line:
In RoVa, they hope the South will rise again. In NoVa, they hope the souffle will.
After the election, there was even talk of NoVa seceding from RoVa because it was so liberal, unique, and incredibly different. The accusation was that the legislature in Richmond was just using NoVa for its hordes of tax revenue, while denying it an appropriately elitist, holier than thou voice in state affairs.

Why do I bring this up now? Because this past Sunday, NoVa sent word that it's not so different from RoVa after all. Seven parishes of the Episcopal Church, most of them located in NoVa, voted to leave the Episcopal Church of the United States of America and instead place themselves under the jurisdiction of a radical social conservative archbishop in Nigeria, who opposes the rights of gay people to even eat together in public, among other virtues. Two of those congregations are among the oldest and largest in the United States, and none other than George Washington was a member of one.

What does this mean about the NoVa/RoVa dichotomy? Simply put, social conservatives are all over the state of Virginia (and a lot of other "blue" states/counties/cities) and thus maybe NoVa should stop being so damn smug. Just because your cars, houses and incomes are bigger than those of your compatriots further south doesn't make you special. I should also remind you that Virginia's recent bizarro anti-gay marriage amendment passed with some 57% of ballots cast. Therefore even if you do deserve some credit for electing left-leaning types like Mark Warner, Tim Kaine, and Jim Webb, don't construe this as making you somehow better than other people. If anything, voting in this country should be the great equalizer, not the great specializer.

You would think that I would be more bothered by other, more obvious aspects of this little saga. For instance, I grew up gay in a part of Tennessee not all that different from RoVa. Yet I maintain that people have the right to believe and vote as they please, even if I disagree with it and/or think some of their decisions will bear disastrous fruits. Though I'm one of those much beguiled bleeding heart liberals, I believe that conservatives are basically good people (as all people are), they just think differently from me, and that's ok. I believe that one of these days, various social issues will be worked out in ways amenable to the rights of all Americans.

In short: NoVa should get off its high horse, especially in light of these recent events. In the meantime, if NoVa wants some sort of voting in the state legislature based upon dollars contributed, they should consult the World Bank, and remember how well that's worked out for poor people.

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