The West Virginia Optimist

Tolerance (ltd.) in West Virginia
June 20, 2008, 7:55 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

This blog post is part of “A Better West Virginia Day,” a collaborative blog effort by West Virginia bloggers to overturn some of the negative stereotypes about West Virginians and our fine state.  Please visit A Better West Virginia for links to more WV blogs participating in this event.  Also, feel free to post your own – be sure to add your link in a comment at A Better West Virginia!


n. The capacity for or the practice of recognizing and respecting the beliefs or practices of  others.

When describing to my friends and family in Virginia that I was moving to the ‘other Virginia’, the most common response I heard was, ‘Why?’. I had visited Charleston, Lewisburg, a few of the tourist attractions (Cass, Snowshoe, etc.) and had fallen in love. When deciding where to move, Charleston seemed to be a perfect fit.. the right amount of cultural offerings, employment options and still relatively close to home in Maryland/Virginia.

I was amazed at the difference in attitude of Charleston versus my former Virginia home. It’s difficult to explain what the difference actually give it an exact word, but what I have narrowed it down to is an overall vibe of ‘live and let live’. It is truly an execution of the state motto, Montani semper liberi, Mountaineers Are Always Free. The people I have met in this state have been kind, generous and open-minded, very different from the national press coverage we’ve seen. For the first time, I feel as if I’m part of a team. I take personally the perception held by people outside of this state, something I never felt in Virginia.

For me, progressive ideas and Montani semper liberi go hand in hand. As we look forward, I am very proud of legislation that is inclusive of all people. City legislation such as this . Charleston city Councilman Marc Weintraub, the bill’s author and sponsor said:

“I think, as we continue to try to make Charleston a great place to work, live and visit, we sat down and tried to think of ways to do this,” he said. “One way is letting gays and lesbians know they are welcome and protected here.”

There was even an overwhelming support for this bill in the Senate in the last legislative session. The mere fact that this is being discussed and voted on, speaks very highly of West Virginia to the rest of the country. That the legal rights of it’s citizens doesn’t contain footnotes with exceptions

Legislation like those above is why I’m proud to be a West Virginian. There will always be more work to be done, but I feel we’re headed down the right path.


3 Comments so far
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[…] David Epp, The West Virginia Optimist | Tolerance (Ltd.) in West Virginia […]

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Awesome post, Dave!

Comment by rebecca

Well said, David! Let’s hope that the positive, inclusive spirit you observe/feel in Charleston spreads to the “hollers and byways” throughout the State.

Comment by David Perkins

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