Several weeks ago, the owner of the Rappahannock News wrote an editorial about the outcome of the bike trail issue, and how he thought the loser of the argument was the people of the county, who would not get to enjoy the benefits of the trail.
Up to that point, I thought the paper had done a reasonably good job of remaining neutral about the bike trail, so I was a little surprised and a bit disappointed. But at least Mr. Brack’s editorial was civil. I thought the timing was a bit strange since it brought this contentious issue to the forefront again as it was beginning to die out. But, if you own the paper, you darn well ought to be able to say what you want to say in your own editorial. In a later article, I respectfully disagreed with the editorial.
Then Mr. Nicklin chimes in. In what, I assume, was an attempt at worldliness, his words come off as condescending. The heartfelt objections of the citizens opposed to the idea of a bike trail he writes off as rationalizations. And then he lumps all the opposition as uneducated. If this is his attempt to put the issue to rest, he not only missed the broad side of a barn, he demonstrates very clearly that he doesn’t have any idea what the barn looks like.
This is what I mean by that last sentence: They don’t “get it.” They don’t understand, and probably never will, the feelings that many of us opposed to “improvements” like the bike trail have for Rappahannock County.
As for me, I am only too glad to cast my lot with the uneducated and unclean masses, such as the articulate Mr. Ben Jones, for one, and my neighbor, Mr. Ron Maxwell, for another. You see, Mr. Jones, Mr. Maxwell and others like Mr. Billy Wayland and a large number of our citizens “get it.” They understand what the unclean and uneducated masses meant when they responded to a foolish and juvenile questionnaire with an emphatic, “just leave me the hell alone.”
And so, I will leave you with my grave concern for the future of Rappahannock County. Fellow citizens, be extraordinarily careful when you are choosing individuals to be placed in positions of leadership. In my worst nightmares, I see the bulldozers and excavators lining up at the county border. Take a look at what is happening in Culpeper County with their rezoning and capitulations by those who were put there to protect the county. Just follow the money. There are people among us who would sell this county out in the blink of an eye if it meant their pockets would be lined.
I am too old and too tired to join this battle for much longer, except in the faintest of ways. But if enough of you who “get it” continue to stand up and be counted, either in your voting or your willingness to come out and let your voices be heard at public meetings, maybe the wolf can be held off a bit longer, or at least persuaded to look elsewhere.
I trust your holidays and celebrations brought you joy and shared love of family and friends. If we are lucky, we will be able to wish the same to each other in another year. But I say that knowing that we lost a lot of good men and women this year. God bless you, and God bless this little piece of heaven we call home. May it thus forever be.