I went to our favorite restaurant in all of Tidewater tonight and had Ned's very special rockfish. It was delightful. I almost hesitate to write about our community because it is fragile and in danger. We moved here in 1998 and I never thought any place in America could have retained its closeness to its origins. This County, Mathews, is the second smallest in Virginia only passed by Arlington due to its "amputation" to create the District of Columbia. Mathews was originally a part of Gloucester county and later became an independent county. There are no stoplights in the county. It was a place where shipbuilding, farming and fishing were the way people lived. Actually the kind of thing we need to go back to. The majority of the ships that made the United States Navy up until the time steamships came into being were made here. even into the fifties ships and work boats were a big part of the industry here. Watermen were fishing the Chesapeake Bay's bounty until recently. A few remain. They go out early in the morning and come back with fish, clams, or crabs. The fish here has always been excellent. Last night we attended a candidates meeting and listened to the five candidates for the Board of supervisors tell us their ideas. Three of them were clearly Republican and they had the audience stacked. Tea party slogans were what they spoke about. The other two were female incumbents and told us about how the county operates. There was to be no applause until everyone spoke but every time the tea party robots said their buzz words the plants in the audience cheered and clapped. My wife helped organize the meeting with some of the old timers and what i heard at the end from many mouths was "that was scary!" Read on below to see why this is a special movement and may have consequences beyond our small local existence .
The county is part of congressional and other districting that has been heavily gerrymandered. Yet locally the politics has avoided the partisan taint that the rest of the Nation has fallen victim to. our local elections have had a much more democratic quality than anything i have experienced in my 75 years. Recently the Tea Party has begun to move here. I noticed them first when they surrounded me when I held a teach-in to give out information about the health care bill in front of Food Lion. They made sure none of the public could get near me. One of them threatened me with violent harm. Then he talked about killing the President. He had done this before and the Secret service was notified.
Last night the rules were made clear by the moderators but the audience was stacked and ignored them applauding and cheering every time a slogan was spoken by the three republican candidates. The republicans have opened an office down town and there seems to be big money behind their effort to take over the county.
The rhetoric they spouted was "pro-business" and "pro-constitutio0n" and "anti-government". The incumbent women had a good bit to teach about the way the county was run and how it interacted as a small county with its neighbors. The republicans made speeches about how they were against cooperating with anyone else and hoe the county needed to be more "pro-business". They were all owners of businesses and clearly they wanted more money from us.
Mathews is a treasure and like all the other treasures in our country stands to be taken over by the wealthy because of its waterfront property and its possibility for domination by monied interests. The real old timers are not that well to do but they own coveted property. Rather than going back to origins which would be a model of sustainability, Mathews stands a good chance of becoming a playground for the wealthy and losing all the historical roots that remain.
Thus when a few of of accidentally got together at the restaurant tonight, we talked about the uprising and the need for an Occupy Mathews movement. The old timers would probably cringe at the idea and that worries me a bit but I am arrogant enough to believe that we newcomers who treasure their heritage have a stake in preserving it if we can. Thus the Occupy Mathews was born. Please wish us well and support us.