Editorial: Bursting bubbles

“Stay in Big Washington where you belong,” an earlier editorial implored our congressman, Rep. Robert Hurt. The exact opposite could be said of Rappahannock County’s own leaders: stay put, stick around, listen and learn! But the premise is the same:

As a general principle, elected leaders should be totally invested in that which they govern. In the case of our Congress, whose job is to govern (legislate) for the nation, it used to be that members built a life in Big Washington, moved there with their families and socialized every day with other Congressional families (no matter the political party!). Now they’re seldom there and never talk, much less socialize, with members from across the political divide. Productive dialogue has been replaced by opinion-reinforcing “bubbles.”

Rappahannock County, unfortunately, has its own affliction of self-contained bubbles.

Like any still rural community within easy reach of big city affluence, Rappahannock tends to be divided between the come-here’s and the been-here’s, the newcomers and the natives. The newcomers can be further divided into subspecies like retirees, commuters, weekenders and part-timers.

For part-timers, Rappahannock is more like a mistress than a spouse. No one questions their love for her, but the commitment must, by definition, be decidedly different. And so, too, how one views the county – and what is best for her – is different. A perfect example is the recent controversy over what kind of housing should be allowed in the Town of Washington.

The Rappahannock News is uniquely placed – as it should be as the county’s newspaper of record – to be privy to the goings-on and opinions on all sides and nuances of the newcomer/old-timer divide. Indeed, I often feel obligated to use this editorial space to share opinions I’ve heard from one side of the divide or the other – to burst the self-contained bubbles, as it were.

In this same spirit, it has been suggested that the Rappahannock News take a more proactive, presumably positive, role in the community, perhaps by sponsoring old-fashioned town halls or social events, reminiscent, perhaps, of the socializing and interchange of ideas that once upon a time – before talk radio, cable news and partisan bubbles – regularly occurred on Big Washington’s Capitol Hill. Let us know what you think!

Walter Nicklin

1 Comment

  1. I read your coverage of the “over what kind of housing should be allowed in the Town of Washington.” issue
    and I did not get an understanding of what was going on.
    But, I do think this could be an example of people
    attempting to have Rappahannock be “exclusive” instead
    of “real life”. At this time, there is no pressure
    to have actual housing developments in Rapp,, but that
    could change as the expansion of the DC metropolitan area
    will surely resume in the future.
    In my opinion, the current situation is very short
    sighted as it opens up a future legal challenge sometime
    in the future which could completely throw out all Rapp.
    Co. zoning and planing. Not good.
    Jim Warwick

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