Opinion: West Virginia, it’s time we take responsibility

Someone once said, “just like a bird, it takes both wings to fly,” referring to the way both sides of politics should work together for the best interest of the country.  

According to a Pew Research study in 2020, only 4% of registered voters said they had or would vote a split party ticket.  

Earlier this week, West Virginians, including Gov. Jim Justice, took to social media calling for Del. Joe Jeffries to apologize and resign his position after a series of distasteful and NSFW TikTok videos circulated.  

This was not Jeffries first time in the not-so-good spotlight. In Feb. 2021, Jeffries made national headlines for wearing a mesh mask during legislative and committee meetings.  

While Jeffries is under fire this week, he is not the first West Virginia elective to be put under the spotlight, showing the not-so-great side of West Virginia politics. Some of the more recent ones include former Del. Derrick Evans recorded and later deleted a video of himself with hundreds of rioters storming the U.S. Capitol. 

Former member of the West Virginia House of Delegates was defeated in the 2020 election after making national headlines for comparing the LGBTQ+ to the KKK.  

While I could go on, I will just use this quote from a 2019 piece published in the Pacific Standard Magazine that said, “But in West Virginia, where the entire arc of the state’s history has been perverted by a seemingly endless run of bad guys…” 

This makes me so angry. Why do we continue to vote in people who represent West Virginia in such a negative manner? Why do we allow this people to be in a position of not only power, but as a role model to the younger generations who will one day take over these leadership positions? 

Is it because we as a state have given up or simply do not care? Because I don’t think that is the case. Next to Texas, I think West Virgnia is one of the most prideful states I have witnessed. Our citizens love this state.  

I think it is time for West Virginia to take voting more seriously. It is time we stop voting for that guy because we heard our sister’s friend’s brother knows him. It is time we stop voting for someone because they held that position before and the state is still standing. It is time we stop voting for someone simply because there is a D or a R.  

It is time for us as responsible citizens to start doing our part to research the candidates – who they are, what they represent and how they plan to help our state. It is time we go into the polls prepared. It is time for us to start voting ALL elections, not just the presidential election.  

West Virginians, it is our time to stop letting deplorable actions represent our state. It is time we take responsibility and start voting for people who are going to make West Virginia shine like we know she can.  

As voters, we have the power, and it is time we start using it.  

Brittany Hively can be contacted at [email protected]