30 second television commercials booming into the area show the great progress that Southwest Virginia (9th district) has shown in recent years under the counsel and leadership of Rep. Rick Boucher. Boucher, if you follow his commercials, has outstanding ability to secure good jobs for his constituents. He is not bashful about taking credit for these remarkable accomplishments. In fact, he seems to have developed unusual skill in the use of the personal pronoun singular. He says, “I” brought this business to my district, etc. Without Boucher, you might conclude that things would be very dire in the 9th District. He is the man holding it together.
I took a quick look at the stats of the 9th District to see how the Boucher era (since 1983) showed up in the real numbers. Boucher has all or part of 22 counties in the district. The population growth rate over the last near decade has varied from 8% in Wythe County to -15.3% in Buchanan County. Ten other counties had negative growth rates. The other counties were about even or up around 4% or less. Two counties had 8% growth. All the while the U.S. was having a growth rate of 9.7% and the state of Virginia was 11.4%, exceeding the average of the whole country. People are migrating out of Southwest Virginia in droves and passing up Boucher’s job possibilities.
In median household income Boucher’s district showed a low of $23,975. Twelve counties of the twenty-two were in the 20k to 30K. No county reached the Virginia average of 61,210. Some counties were in the 20% poverty level. Virginia was 10.2.
All this progress, if you watch and believe the television commercials , was made possible by Boucher’s overpowering influence is Richmond and Washington.
The “I” man is on the march and the voters of Southwest Virginia stand in awe, with their cups in their hands.
Recent polling has revealed that their survey showed 60%+ of respondents thought America was in decline. Like most polling it was very generalized. That is part of the reason polls aren’t worth much.
Is this decline cultural, spiritual, or economic or all? Are we in a relative fall or an absolute fall? We have data that answers most of these questions. The most curious conclusion is the 40% or less that believe America is O K.
Surely, few book-burnings in history have gotten the attention as the Koran burning threat in Florida. Why? There must be a deeper meaning that I cannot pick up.
We have a 1st Amendment which is good and should be utilized. We have a free press which is good and should be exercised. But, the alarm and the overt pressure, put on the Florida preacher demands some investigation.
We have the Secretary of State trying to coach the media into having a shut-down of publicity. We have personal phone call appeals to the preacher from the Secretary of Defense. The Secretary of Defense! Also, an appeal from the General on the ground in Afghanistan. I have no reason to question the motives of Gates and the General. It is such a complicated war. But, they must understand the Constitution is also important.
These people from government must know that coercing the torch from the preacher’s hand does not change a lot of minds, either the Islamics or those Americans, many who feel we are being intimated be the Muslims. And, this intimation will further entrench those opposed to Islamic faith and practices.
Look, when you are so insensitive as to propose building a mosque at the sight of the attack of 2001by those of the Islamic faith, you can expect reprisals.
The preacher in Florida was expressing his concern about the aggressiveness, as well as I suppose, some sinister aim of the Islamic faith. Others, are concerned about the same sort of thing. France is writing laws regarding the customs of the Muslims that may be deeded offensive to the French. There is all kinds of questions about the degrees of assimilation of Muslims into the western world, and even cultural compatibility.
The preacher, despite his method of expression, has been easy pickings for the media. He is a leader of a small congregation. It gets smaller with each newspaper account I read. Soon, it may be just him and his wife, taking on the whole media establishment and government establishment, including the heads of the major parties, what is left of them.
The Christian faith, has for some time, expressed the feeling of hostility directed toward them by the media and other powerful and positioned associations. Christians are bombarded by the appeal to unite with other faiths, and be a common brotherhood. Yet, Christian scripture. in the words of Jesus declare that the path to salvation rest in Jesus alone. This scripture is found in John 14:6 in the Holy Bible. So, I suppose, the church in Florida could burn the Koran as false teaching. Such an act could be free of any ill feeling toward the Muslim people. Just, a simple 1st Amendment expression. Of course, this does not have to be carried out in a dramatic fashion, but it can be if that is the chosen method. All, still falls under the protection of the 1st amendment.
The preacher has struck a raw nerve. A raw nerve in the media and a raw nerve in the political establishment. Why? Is there some effort to devalue faith? All faith. When you ask all faiths to be “one”, you are devaluing faith! Plain and simple. Earlier in the week, when the preacher was threatening his book-burning a Christian Bible association in Massachusetts was prepared to start handing out Koran’s as a protest to the event. Ugh!
Well, there is a lot of explaining to do. The reaction to the Florida preacher is just mysterious.