A West Virginia Reputation Liv Hefner November 17, 2016 4 Comments The story is courtesy of a partnership with the great folks at Clutchmov. “An online lifestyle magazine for the Mid-Ohio Valley” – including Parkersburg and its surrounding community. West Virginia, we need to talk. Again, you’ve become the victim of some really bad press because one of your residents decided she couldn’t handle basic human decency. Her horrific comment, which she blasted to the entire Internet, has made you look bad, and in turn, the rest of us as well. Seeing the news, I remember thinking, “not West Virginia! Please, any state other than mine. Why is this why we make national news?” Then I started scrolling through the comments on a news outlet’s Facebook post. This is bad idea; everyone knows that you never read the comment section. “Are these people uneducated or WTF? Who makes racists comments on any level, any time? Ignorant, uneducated morons. This is so sad that the future kids have to witness this.” “It’s West Virginia……. That says enough…” “I wouldn’t expect anything less from those racist hillbillies.” “It scares me that they are reproducing.” She reduced a woman with two Ivy League degrees to nothing more than the color of her skin – how devastatingly insulting. I have never been so disheartened to know that I am being lumped in with a person who made such a hateful, race driven comment and to know that my friends, family and beautiful state were also bearing the brunt of her imbecilic actions. In her short Facebook post, she comprehensively unraveled all the work that I’ve put in to make people see West Virginia differently. I took it personally. I’ve worked hard to represent the best of my state, to encourage young minds to stay in the state, and to show that West Virginians are truly wonderful, caring people. She vindicated every person who has said things like, “You don’t sound like a West Virginian,” “Did you marry your cousin?” or jokingly jabs, “but you have all your teeth!” I’ve spent my time defending this beautiful state, making sure that I pronounce my –ing words in their entirety, and educating others on our history to have my work (and the work of those before me) undone in a matter of a few key strokes. So, here’s the thing: regardless of who won the election, your political opinions do not give you the right to be a bully behind a keyboard or in real life. There is a difference between being anti-political correctness and just being an awful person. For some reason, that line seems harder and harder to walk for some. Allow me to offer this gentle reminder as our country faces great change: It is okay to have different values and political beliefs – and to be firmly rooted in them, but it is never okay to be hateful, racist, misogynistic, xenophobic, homophobic or bigoted. Unfortunately, all of these words have an association with Appalachia. Let’s change that. Let’s be the generation that says, “This is not our Appalachia.” Let’s show the nation that we are kind, we are educated, and we are willing to learn from our mistakes to become stronger as a state. Liv is a W.Va. based wedding photographer consumed by wanderlust and seeing the beauty of those in love. She believes that to create beautiful images, she has to see beauty in everything she photographs. Liv is a teacher, wife, daughter, indulger of all things Disney and unabashedly obsessed with her fur-babies: Henry and Pepper. 4 Responses Debby November 19, 2016 Thank you for saying out loud what I have been thinking…may your message carry beyond our state lines… Log in to Reply Susan November 18, 2016 I too am disheartened and embarrassed by such terrible comments about such a beautiful woman, inside and out; Michelle Obama. She has been a role model; not only to one race, but to all women, children, and men in our Country. She is full of love, so smart, such a loving mother and she also cares for all of our children. How can one woman full of hate betray our state and spew such terrible words toward this classy beautiful woman? I certainly have never felt that way. I have always been proud of our First Lady. I’m proud that she made history of being the first black First Lady and I cried as I watched the Obamas as a family after winning the election. As a social worker, I know that people such as this WV woman, has set our state back 50 years in our country’s and the world’s eyes. If I was face to face with First Lady Obama, I would like to tell her how proud I am of her and her accomplishments. She made such a difference among our children regarding healthy eating and I also paid attention to her as well. She is not only physically beautiful, but her beauty is inside as well. She is classy, but has never placed herself in a higher class system even though she could. She had access to dresses from the most famous expensive designers but chose to teach moderation with style. God bless her. She has so many positive qualities that have influenced our children and also most of us that were open for change. I will miss her. I will miss seeing this loving family in the White House. I have great respect for all of them. I wish them a very wonderful future! Log in to Reply Anonymous November 19, 2016 Oh please give me a break. Michelle Obama is a role model? If she’s a role model Then Jeffrey Dahmer was a role model Log in to Reply D. P. Lubic December 15, 2016 Well, I have to disagree–and I’m going to go with the president himself. Now, just as an example, ask yourself, has Obama ever shown anger in public? To my knowledge, the answer is no. If anything, he shows a most even temperament. As a part of that, he also has the ability to laugh at his troubles and himself. To illustrate this, let’s look at a video clip from the annual Correspondents’ Dinner in Washington, a long standing tradition where news people and politicians get together and roast each other with jokes: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Gv_44QQMcGo Now look at how his replacement handles criticism. Tell me the replacement does a better job. We had a family named Dunham in the area where I live (eastern panhandle) who have a distant relation to the current president, and in a newspaper interview they said they didn’t like to talk about it, claiming the president did not exhibit what they considered good conduct. I wonder what they consider good or appropriate conduct when you look at the current replacement. I would assume we have been brought up to treat everybody with respect, to be honest in all dealings, to pay our bills and generally be honorable. Sadly, I have to wonder if we were brought up wrong. It seems that in the real world, if you are aggressive, a bully, if you lie, cheat on your wives, stiff your subcontractors, and generally insult people, along with and some other things, you can become insanely rich and get elected to the president of the United States, and with the blessings of most of the population of my state of West Virginia. Leave a Reply Cancel ReplyYou must be logged in to post a comment.