April Moore gets that Virginians need affordable healthcare and control over that happens to their bodies. Mark Obenshain voted to block Medicaid to 400,000 poor Virginians, destroy the Affordable Care Act, and deny a woman’s right to choose what happens to her pregnancy.
In the Library on Tuesday April 23, Meg Heubeck told a crowd of 25 or so, “We need to bring back the political center.” Director of educational outreach at the UVA Center for Politics, Heubeck held a training workshop for constructive conversations across party lines.
Even though animosity has shrunk that center since the mid-1990s, Heubeck said, some 80 percent of us actually still identify somewhere between the extreme right and left. However, the 24-hour news cycle, and our tendency to look for information that confirms what we already think, locks us into a kind of hunter-gatherer political tribalism.
But, said Heubeck, we can train ourselves out of it. “Remember that each of us loves our country, our community, and our families,” she said. And everyone has a voice. “That’s at the core, those American values. That’s what we’re protecting, even in a diverse community.”
The friendly crowd of two dozen participants spanned the political spectrum from conservative to liberal, according to organizer Bob Burney. They broke into small problem-solving groups to test those voices. A simple question—what is the greatest challenge to the future of Rappahannock?—brought a gamut of answers and a prescription for positive citizenship.
First, we need to get to know our neighbors. Ask them about their experiences. Learn how government works. Identify areas of similarity. Be prepared to compromise toward a consensus.
“Bring your brain,” said Heubeck, “and be ready to be nice to people. Then listen with both ears.”
Heubeck praised organizations like the National Institute for Civil Discourse, Unite America, No Labels, and Common Cause for bridging the political divide in America and bolstering its political center. For more information, contact Bob Burney, BurneyRG@me.com.
I am running for the Virginia Senate (SD-26) this coming November.
As you may remember, I ran for this seat back in 2015. I challenged the Republican incumbent Mark Obenshain because I could see that it was not the people of this district he was serving.
That is still true: So I will challenge him again on issues like corruption in Virginia’s government, where he is an instrument of the Koch Brothers; and on climate change, in which he is in the pocket of Dominion Energy; and on health care, where, until the bitter end, he put the ambitions of his party above the well-being of the citizens of Virginia.
But this year I will challenge Mr. Obenshain in a whole new way because of the unthinkable and dangerous thing his Republican Party has become–the Party of Trump. I will challenge him to tell us which side he’s on, in this battle for our American democracy and our national security.
In a conservative district like ours, any candidate who wants to win must earn the support of a good many Republicans. I know there are Republicans in our area who are unhappy with what their party has become–people who are like my life-long Republican parents, who could never have supported a Republican party like this one, one that tramples on the conservative values they held dear.
It is such principled Republicans that I will work to pry away from Sen. Obenshain by challenging him to declare where he stands on all the ugly things the Trump Party is doing.
This is the heart of my strategy to win this seat.
And, in addition, I will use my platform, as the major party nominee I hope to be, to speak the urgently important truth that all of my Trump-supporting neighbors need to hear.
So please join me as I officially launch my campaign for state senate with a press conference. Show the press and the public that you support my campaign’s efforts to:
protect our climate;
build a state government that puts people before Big Money;