Election Day 2016: This is who we’ve got

I was in 8th grade when Barack Obama defeated John McCain in the 2008 presidential election. Until then, I could not have cared less about government and politics. There is really no reason to care about those kinds of things when you’re a kid- mom wakes you up, gets you to school, at school all you’re thinking about is either recess or the potential hug you’re going to get from your “girlfriend” after school, mom (or the bus) gets you home, your dinner is prepared for you, you go outside and play, watch American Idol, take a shower and then head to bed to do it all over the next day. If you’re sick, you go to the doctor- you don’t worry about paying for it. Taxes mean nothing to you. War is a foreign concept. Race is a game to see who can run faster, not a human ranking system. Life is good.

When I watched Obama being sworn into office in my 8th grade history class, something changed. As he began speaking, I could feel my life shifting in that very moment- from being a kid to growing into an adult. President Obama made me feel like I needed to care about what I was about to get myself into as I grew up in 21st century America- he made me want to understand the inner workings of government, the principles behind American democracy and what challenges our country faced on the road ahead. The way he spoke captivated 14 year-old me in way I had never been captivated politically before. He commanded my attention hundreds of miles away, through a television. Politics began to matter.

I’m 21 now (almost 22!), out of college and putting in my 40-hour weeks to appease the capitalist gods that rule me. Over the last 8 years, I have been through it all- I got my first kiss, lost my driver’s license for a semester because I got a B in Spanish, placed in the state track meet, was the prom king, got my first job, dated and then broke up with two ex-girlfriends, almost kind of got arrested, graduated high school, didn’t get into the college I wanted to, went to WVU, joined the band, decided to transfer across the country, quit the band, decided to stay, lived at home again, got my first apartment, delivered pizzas, lived with frat guys for a semester, got my second apartment, got a kind-of real job, graduated from journalism school, got a job as an IT guy, bought my first car, and gained about 10 pounds. President Obama has been there for me, thought it all. I watched him lead the country with grace and humility- I watched him being a loving husband and father to his kids- I watched him care. Through all the mass shootings, Middle East problems, and economic crises Obama never stopped projecting his message of hope. Obama’s unwavering dedication over the last 8 years to his “no matter what happens we are going to make it, and it will be OK” message has made a permanent impact on my life. From the bottom of my heart… Thanks, Obama. Your legacy will endure for generations to come. You will always be my president.

Tomorrow

Unfortunately, Obama cannot be the president forever. He has reached the end of his two-term limit. Tomorrow, we will elect a new President of the United States. Our choices are Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton. No, that was not a typo- Donald fucking Trump and Hillary Clinton are the nation’s top two choices to be the leader of the free world. Washington, Lincoln, Kennedy… Trump? Hillary “I would lose to literally any viable candidate in history but I got to run against Donald Trump” Clinton? Really? Where the hell is Mitt Romney when you need him? My God, these two make John Kerry look like FDR. It’s bad. It’s really bad. But it’s who we’ve got.

Donald Trump is a reality TV star, and a damn good one. The guy should teach a PR class at Harvard. He can make a lot of people believe something without really trying. He has been spewing racist, sexist bullshit for the entirety of his campaign- and he still might beat Hillary Clinton(!!!) He literally wants to build a wall around the country. He claims to know more about international politics than the former Secretary of State. He says he is bringing energy back to West Virginia (he’s not… no one is). He will hire “all the right people” to run the country. He has absolutely no experience in the political arena. He will “flatten ISIS” and throw us into World War III with Russia as soon as he initiates the no-fly zone.

He is insane.

Trump has a few good ideas, though. He is pro life and pro 2nd amendment. I like guns and babies. Abortion is fucked, and we have the right to hunt. He is for the most part fiscally conservative, another plus. He’s just crazy. People like Trump because they see him as an outsider- someone who just maybe will help them.

Clinton is Claire Underwood. She will lie, cheat and steal to get what she wants. That is fine and all, but it is not really a good trait to have if you want to be President of the United States. She has been wrapped up in scandals for years. She put state email on a private server. She wasn’t too great as Secretary of State. People just don’t trust her. She isn’t likable at all. She is playing the “vote for me, I’m a woman” card far too much. She is the rich grandma who lives in Florida that sees her grandchildren once a year but sends money every holiday only to make her feel like you care about her.

She sucks.

Hillary, like Trump, has some good ideas though. College is overpriced and she wants to fix that. Obamacare needs a refresh, not a delete. She cares about non-white people. Gays aren’t subhuman. And, she’s been in politics for her entire life. Also, she campaigned with Lebron.

This election is very important for one reason: The Supreme Court of the United States has one vacant seat, and more will be coming soon. Whoever is elected President will be able to appoint justices that will decide the future of America for decades to come. We cannot afford to go back in time and appoint justices that are not progressive- that are afraid and refuse to rule in favor of the people. We don’t want any more ultra-conservative whack jobs (sorry, Boomers).

For that reason, I’m with her. I will be voting for Hillary Clinton to be the next President of the United States tomorrow.

I’m sorry Donald, but it’s time to let the pussy grab us.

Millennials: The new Greatest Generation

One cannot go a day without seeing an edgy think piece written by a 60-something baby boomer claiming that Millennials are causing the downfall of the “Great American society” we’ve been living in since VJ Day. We’re lazy, unappreciative, lacking of common sense, selfish, “don’t know the struggle”, and un-deserving of anything we receive. We’re the “participation trophy” generation. According to most boomers, the Chinese will take over the world by 2050 and America will be reduced to nothing but a very large Grand China Buffet.  Millennials, frankly put, are the worst thing to happen to humanity.

They’re wrong.

No, really, they’re wrong. Millennials are the best thing to happen to modern society. Unlike previous generations, the vast majority of us were not raised to be racist, sexist bigots. Everyone is the same- just living life as a victim of the human condition. Don’t get me wrong, there will always be a Billy Ray from Bumfuck, Nowhere that hates everyone that isn’t white and a fan of Dale Sr- but the other 99% are done with the hate. We don’t care what color or you are or what gender you are- as long as you’re not an asshole, we can be friends. You believe in the Christian God? Cool! You think we are nothing but specks of dust in the void? I could see that. You have no clue what to believe and aren’t going to talk down on someone for having a different line of thinking? You and I both.  We don’t care if you’re gay, straight, bi-sexual, transsexual, metrosexual, pansexual, or any other kind of sexual I may have missed. You’re gay? That’s dope. You’re straight? That’s dope. You like to bang McChicken’s? More power to you, brother- just don’t hurt yourself.

The racist and homophobic culture is dying.  The negative aspects of religion are being removed from everyday society.  War to us, for the most part, is pointless. Why do we need to shoot at guys we have never met before who have families and lives at home? We’re all just people, and millennials see that clearer than any other generation. Just because I was born somewhere other than you does not mean I’m any better or worse than you are and it surely does not mean I have a right to rob you of your way of life just because I can.

Millennials are the first generation to grow up with the Internet- we all grew up together, around the world, as one. We’ve been through it all with each other. I could go to France, say “Suh Dude” to the first cute 19-year-old I see, and they’ll laugh. I could see an Asian dude in white Vans and say “Damn Daniel, back at it again!” and he’ll know what I’m talking about. That guy in the Harambe T-shirt at Walmart? Dicks out. I have never met these people in my life, but we have so much in common- we’ve seen and heard so many of the same things.

The Internet is also great for calling people out for being an asshole. Don’t get me wrong, we all miss the days when Grandma Smith and Auntie Sue weren’t online and clogging our timelines with Trump quotes and those stupid auto-play videos of a Corgi humping a couch cushion (it was a much simpler time), but now we get to watch Auntie’s comment section burn to the ground when she posts about how all black people should be shot on site by cops for smoking a joint. If you’re an asshole, we’re going to let you know- and we’re going to let the world know.

Too often, Millennials get a bad rep. We aren’t “social justice warriors” or trying to convince people that gender is a figment of our imaginations- we aren’t all lazy and we aren’t all entitled. We don’t hate cops, but we think it’s fucked up that they shoot people for not being white. No, they all don’t shoot on sight. No, not everyone was/is shot unjustly.  But camcorders are real now, folks, and we can see it with our own two eyes. It just has to stop. We are all the same.

Boomers, I have a proposition for you- let us take it from here. You have done great things for society and that is undeniable, but it’s time to move on. Take your pensions and relax- ride it out in a life of luxury. We appreciate the participation trophies (that you gave us) and the sacrifices you made for us. We love you. But it’s our turn now.

 

Remembering Mike Tipi

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Growing up, every kid has a few adults that they are able to connect with on a different level. A level different than their teachers or parents- someone who is generally interested in their well-being and success, but isn’t going to judge or punish them on the things they do wrong. Somebody with experience in the “real world.” A confidant. A friend.

Mike Tipi was that friend for me and many, many other kids growing up in Fairmont, West Virginia. The kids were always first. Through the youth football and baseball leagues, he was always lending a helping hand to anyone who needed it. He understood how important positive encouragement was to a child growing up- if he saw a coach screaming at a kid, he would always make sure to seek them out after a game and make sure that they knew that he was rooting for them. He saw through the parents’ favoritism bullshit and treated every kid the same way- with respect. He was that kind of guy.

I was lucky enough not only to be one of those kids he pulled aside after the game, but to work beside Mike for four seasons at Fairmont Little League. In 2011 I decided that high school baseball wasn’t for me, but I still wanted to be involved in the game in some capacity. Mike heard that I had quit midseason and gave me a call and asked if I wanted to work with him announcing games and keeping score.

We spent many a night together in our perch in Tipi’s Tower. I learned a lot about baseball, and a lot about life. One of my favorite memories of Mike is the pair of binoculars he kept in the press box. He’d always tell me he was using them to check the score on another field, but when any of the coaches would come upstairs and inquired, he’d say he was “using them to check out your wife.” Some of the looks we got were incredible.

For four years he worked around my schedule, telling me to tell him when I could work and just work the rest. He would call me after almost every game to check the scores and to see who was doing well so he could stay up to date. He always made sure we got paid every night, even if someone had told me they didn’t have the money to pay me. He was just always looking out for me- and everyone else, too.

After every game he’d invite me to the High Life Lounge to play video slot machines with him. I’d delightfully remind him that I was only 17, but when I was 21 I’d take him up on the offer. I never got the chance.

Mike died Thursday, June 4th. He will never be forgotten by me, his family, and all of the friends he made while just trying to help the kids grow. He was a gentleman, a true East Sider, and a friend. I am sad, but I am also happy for Mike- he now gets an unobstructed view of all the moms around the world.  I know he is happy about that.

Rest in Peace buddy, I love you. Thanks for everything.

Capito leads in senate race polls despite success of Obamacare in West Virginia

Election day is just a few short weeks away and West Virginia’s political identity is up for grabs. For the first time in more than 50 years, there is a real chance that the next Senator from West Virginia will be a Republican, not a Democrat. West Virginia has an open seat vacated by Mr. Rockefeller, and the race for the coveted seat has been heating up.

Shelly Moore Capito (R), who now holds a seat in Congress, and Natalie Tennant (D), West Virginia’s current Secretary of State, are both running energetic campaigns around the state. However, Capito has been pulling away of late in large part due to a barrage of television ads her campaign has run attacking Tennant on her endorsement of ObamaCare and her desire to “just be in office” no matter of position.

What seems to be getting eclipsed in this heated contest is where the candidates stand on social welfare programs that many West Virginians benefit from. For example, while Tennant is an avid supporter of the Affordable Care Act, Capito has repeatedly voted to repeal the ACA. Yet 104,827 West Virginia residents have been added to Medicaid since the ACA-fueled expansion of Medicaid on January 1st, according to the state Department of Health and Human Resources.  Even so, West Virginia still has over 270,000 residents without basic health care coverage, according to Tennant.

So, why is Capito ahead in the polls given her conservative stance on health care? One Harrison County resident says she believes that Tennant is suffering in the polls because voters connect her with President Obama, who has negative ratings in West Virginia.

“When people hear the word Democrat, they automatically think of Obama, an Anti-Christ in some people’s eyes around here,” says Sara Logsdon, a resident of Harrison County.

West Virginia is known around the country as a conservative state and Capito has used that to her advantage by painting Tennant as an Obama apologist. Harrison County, in the heart of West Virginia, is an important county from an election perspective. Over 69,000 people live in Harrison County, a good chunk of the 1.8 million in the state of West Virginia.

Susan Thomas, Harrison County Clerk, suggested voter apathy in recent elections.

“I just think with the negative commercials, all of the negativity around the political world in general is not helping the democratic process,” said Thomas.

Some have tried to sign up for ObamaCare, but were locked out before they could get coverage. Lisa King has had many issues with the signup process.

“I have tried and tried to sign up,” said Lisa, “but it just locks me out at the end every single time.”

     I recently spoke to Jeffery Worsham, a political science professor at West Virginia University, and asked him about the disconnect between the current polling numbers and Capito’s clear voting record against the working class and poor.

“Simple answer, voters aren’t rational,” said Worsham. “Voters cast a ballot influenced by other factors, many of which have no actual effect on them but for some reason resonate anyway.”

 

It’s a simple answer to a complex question- West Virginian’s vote irrationally.

Why I Chose the Sheik Life

College is the greatest time of our lives because we have so many choices. We can go out and enjoy ourselves without a care in the world. The football games… The parties… Even being the DD. It’s all great. But you’re really missing out in college if you don’t rush… If you don’t strive to be the best… If you don’t Sheik.

Going Sheik was a tough decision for me.

“It’s too expensive”

“You’re just paying for friends”

“Only douches go Sheik”

I heard all of these things and took them to heart…. But I just had to go sheik. I heard that presidents had even gone sheik!

I showed up to the temple very nervous with my friend Osama. What would the elders think of me? Osama already knew everybody so it made it even more awkward to me. What I found was that they would take me in like a brother.

After being sworn in as a Sheik, I felt like I was complete. Every GDI started to annoy me. (Guy Damning Islam.) If only they knew what it was like to be a member of the Sheik life.

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If I could give you one word of advice, it would be to change your life for the better and go Sheik.

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You won’t regret it.

Why I am Staying Home

If you’ve been following me at all over the past two years, you are very well aware of the fact I have been attempting to follow my dreams and become a fighter pilot. I first tried applying to the United States Naval Academy and then, after a rejection letter from the boys in Annapolis, a scholarship. Five months ago I received it- a national Navy ROTC scholarship that only a small percentage of applicants receive. I was excited. But there was a catch.

 

 

I had to transfer to Oregon State University to be able to use it.

 

For all you non-geography majors out there, Oregon roughly 2,700 miles away from West Virginia. That’s a long way. For some strange reason, I completely looked past that and accepted the scholarship. I was going to do it, baby! I was going to get away from Fairmont, a place full of life sucking hypocrites. I could finally get as far away as possible from all of those assholes from high school. I could finally get away from home.

 

I went through part of the summer with that idea engrained in my head. I was having doubts, but I assumed they were natural. I was leaving sometime in September, I said to myself. Nothing could change it.

 

One morning, my mother came to my room and asked me to sign a form accepting my financial aid from Oregon State. I was thoroughly puzzled- why did I need to take out loans if I had gotten a full scholarship? I guess I had missed the fine print. The scholarship only covered my tuition, not my room and board.

 

I soldiered on, keeping the same attitude.

 

“Money doesn’t matter, it’s just a number.”

 

“I’ll have enough, I’m not worried about it.”

 

I tried to convince myself of these things, but it just didn’t work.

 

 

So, two days before classes were set to begin at West Virginia University, I made up my mind. I talked to a few friends about it, then decided it was time to talk to my mom.

“Fuck it, I’m staying here,” I said to myself as I walked downstairs to tell her.

 

Every person will have a point in their lives where they will have a monumental decision to face, and every person will inevitably have their “fuck it” moment in one way or another.

 

Mine just came earlier than expected.

 

 

After making the decision to stay, I was in for the real challenge. I had not scheduled for classes yet and most were full. I had no place to live in Morgantown (still don’t, actually- kind of sucks.) I was still enrolled to Oregon State and still locked into a lease over there (still am, actually- kind of sucks too.) At a complete loss, I turned to my only key resource at WVU, my advisor and friend Dean Street. He agreed to lunch and unlocked the classes I needed to take and made sure I got them all.

 

Shout out, Dean Street, the homie.

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Monetary and distance challenges were not the only reason I decided to stay here. My grandfathers, on both sides, are my best friends. I don’t know how long I have left with them. My other friends and family also played a part, as well. I am comfortable here at WVU, I am on track to graduate early, and I have a great group of friends. Being in ROTC wouldn’t put me ahead of what I am doing now if I still want to join the Navy after college. Just a lot of things.

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All things considered, I feel I made a good decision. I still have time to go out and follow the dream- now just isn’t that time. I was a bit embarrassed about telling everyone I was leaving and then deciding to stay, but really who cares what people think? I really do not. It isn’t their life. I have the rest of my life to do what I want to do. I am sure I will catch flak for not taking the scholarship. I’m fine with that. There will always be a what-if factor in my life, and I have mentally come to terms with that fact. At the end of the day, I decided what was best for me.

 

What is best for me is my home, my family, my friends.

 

What is best for me is West Virginia.

 

What is best for me is home.

How to Watch the Game with your Bandwagon Friend

We all have one of those friends who just happen to have a favorite sports team that has won a championship in the last 10 years. It’s just the way it works. Watching sports with them is very difficult to do because they always reference the fact that the Yankees have won 27 championships (most before they were born, I might add,) or how no matter how good Peyton Manning looked this year, Farve will always be better. The Lakers fans from Virginia, the Argentina fans from the United States… What a coincidence, right? I’m writing this to give some tips to the guys like me (whose teams have never won a championship in their lifetime) on watching the game in the company of a band-wagoner.

The reason I feel so strongly about this is due to one of my best friends, Tony. He puts on his nice guy persona around family and friends, but his true friends know he is morally detestable for many reasons (most that I will not divulge at this time,) but one that trumps most others- he fits the “band-wagoner” stereotype to a t. He happens to be a fan of Duke basketball, the New England Patriots, and the New York Yankees.

What a damn shame.

Regardless, here are a few things I do to make watching sports with Tony tolerable.

                         Reference the worst moment in school/team history

This one is one of the easiest (and best,) ways to piss off your friend and start enjoying a game that only a few moments ago was painful to watch. For example, Tony gives me a very easy one every time he watches Duke. Any time a Duke player does something that excites, I pipe up and say “Man Tony, that Duke guy really RAPED him” in reference to the Duke lacrosse scandal a few years ago. It usually starts an hour long tirade about how the players were found not guilty and that it doesn’t relate at all to the sport at hand, but it’s worth hearing that over the sounds of Kermit the Frog himself, Dick Vitale. The Patriots scored a touchdown? They must have recorded the other team’s practice.

Pick out one of the worst players and make crazy comparisons

A close second to terrible team history, this one is sometimes much more entertaining. If the Yankees are playing the Angles, throw in a “Man, I think that Erick Aybar had a better career, pound for pound, than Jeter.” Don’t just stick to opposing teams, either. You think Swaggy P should start over Kobe? Make it known. He’s a better jump shooter anyways.

Make up dumb fake trades

Doing this takes a certain level of knowledge of the league, but if you know it- fire away. Lebron to the Bucks for the Greek Freak and OJ Mayo? I could see it.

Manning for Blaine Gabbert, straight up? Yep.

Whenever you do this, always make sure you include that you heard this reported somewhere. It makes it even more fun to watch your bandwagon buddy explore the Twitter-sphere angrily.

Above all, always make sure to keep a cool head when watching sports with your bandwagon buddy. The last thing you want to do is hurt each other, whether it be physically or emotionally.

Leave that to the Duke Lacrosse team.

#TheMuttsCurse

 

The Sugar Bowl. The Fiesta Bowl. The Final Four. Orange ya glad we dropped 70 on Clemson?

All of these are proud moments in the history of West Virginia University sports. From 2006 to 2012, the WVU Football and Basketball teams were perennial top 25 teams, always in the mix for a conference and even a national championship.

 

Then, in a flash, it all changed.

In October 2012, West Virginia University president Jim Clements announced that the school would be buying over 40 properties in the Sunnyside area, and many students living in the area would need to start searching for new places to live immediately.

 

One of these places was Mutts.

 

A local bar in Morgantown, Mutts had a longstanding history of being a great hangout spot. Featuring cheap beer, free pool, and a deck, it was a staple to student life at WVU. Students poured into Mutts every night of the week to get drunk, meet girls, and live the WVU lifestyle.

 

The West Virginia University football team had just come off a stunning victory at Texas and climbed to the number 5 spot in the national rankings over the weekend when the announcement was made the Mutts was to be closed. ESPN analysts were praising the high-powered offense the Dana, Geno, and Tavon were orchestrating. Their next game was against the inferior Texas Tech, a team the mountaineers were projected to decimate by double digits.

 

They lost by 35.

 

It didn’t end there, either. The mountaineer’s proceeded to lose their next four games and drop themselves into the lowly Pinstripe Bowl, getting blown out there, too.

 

On the basketball court, the mountaineer’s were expecting big things. They were coming off a tough loss in the last season’s NCAA Tournament game against Gonzaga, but were slated to start the season against the same Gonzaga team. It was to be a close game, experts said.

 

It wasn’t.

 

WVU was run off the court, losing by 34 points, in what would turn out to be a preview of the entire 2012-2013 season. The team finished the year at 13-19, the first sub .500 season for mountaineer hoops since 2003 and coach Huggins worst season since 1985.

 

The 2013 season was seen as a rebuilding year for the football team, but expectations were still high. WVU was expected to visit at the very least a lower tier bowl game. With the year winding down, the mountaineer’s needed to win two games to make a record 12th straight bowl game. The games were against struggling Iowa State and a Kansas team that hadn’t won a conference game in their last 27 tries, dating back to the 2010 season.

 

The team lost both games.

 

It was the #MuttsCurse.

 

West Virginia University basketball was poised for a bounce back year in 2013. After starting conference play hot, the team proceeded to lose seven of their last ten and fall off of the NCAA Tournament bubble.

Just a few days after the final game was played (a loss to Georgetown in the NIT,) Eron Harris, the standout sophomore sharp-shooter who led the team in 3-point percentage and was second in scoring, announced that he would be transferring away from WVU, even though every player would be returning next season.

 

The #MuttsCurse strikes again.

 

Mutts was closed late in the 2012 fall semester. Since then, the WVU football and basketball teams have gone a combined 36-49.

 

This is not a coincidence.

 

Mutts was not only a bar, but was a way of life.

 

When that life was taken, so was the life of mountaineer athletics.

RIP Sunnyside.

RIP Mutts.

 

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Scenes

    Today in my media writing class, we were given an assignment to go out and watch something of our choice for 30 minutes, return back, and then write a short piece describing the scene before class ended. I gave it my best shot.

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 Any living creature has a hard time adapting to a new environment. From bird to bear, hyena to human- all things feel uneasy in an unfamiliar place. As I sat down to decide on my scene idea, a family of four was sat next to me. Just as any species, the family appeared to be struggling to adapt.

     They were a typical American “modern family,” with a mom surveying the environment with tiger like focus, the father staring aimlessly into his lap, the son playing his new-fangled game machine, and the daughter, the prospective student, taking selfies while donning her West Virginia University “here’s where I’m from and here’s what I want to do with my life” name tag. They had yet to speak to each other.

       As time went on, the daughter started talking. She was wondering what time they were going to be home this evening, for she had a lacrosse game to attend. The mother immediately shot her a look of motherly disgust and dismissed the question.

       Continuing my survey, the mother seemed to catch on. Every time she would say something, she would immediately look to see if I was writing. The tiger- the ultimate protector- felt threatened by a mere pen and paper.

     The family got up and left me a few minutes later. It is amazing to me how people yearn for friendship, for acceptance, for normalcy- yet will go to great lengths to separate themselves from it.

The Real West Virginia

Just last week, a chemical spill occurred in the southern part of West Virginia. The spill leaked into the Elk river, which in turn polluted the drinking water for 300,000 residents. This disaster has led to a great deal of media exposure for a state that usually flies under the radar. With that newfound media exposure came many jokes focused on West Virginia’s way of life.

Here’s an example:

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This was a tweet from a journalist at the Detroit Free Press (she’s from Detroit, so she really doesn’t have any room to talk. Also, shout out to B Rabbit.) She received many hateful and degrading responses to her tweet by many, and eventually took it down, but the issue resounds- people from around the country think West Virginia is a place where the only things happening are cousins having sex and cashing their welfare checks. I’m here to tell you this is not true.

Before I begin, I’d like to present a disclaimer: I am not a fan of the individuals who constantly beat the drum of “Our state is the best state, you’re just jealous!” Being completely honest here, West Virginia isn’t exactly the most ideal place to live. You can’t walk more than ten feet without having to scale a hill. In the winter, the snow can be relentless. The only professional sports teams are those on TV’s. There’s no beach. If you want to go to a decent shopping mall, you’ve probably got an hour-plus drive ahead of you. There is, indeed, an abnormal amount of large people. But these aren’t deal-breakers. Every state has its problems.  Last year, MTV began airing a show titled “Buckwild,” dubbed the “redneck version of the Jersey Shore,” and many people from around the country laughed at the state, believing this was an accurate depiction of what goes on. It was not. Many wrote in to MTV, the governor, and congress asking for the show to be discontinued because it seemed to shine a very poor light on our state. I personally have never witnessed anyone jump into a dump truck swimming pool. The show was a contributing factor to the many stereotypes of West Virginia.

West Virginia is a beautiful place. All four seasons make distinct appearances. The leaves in autumn are absolutely stunning, and the flowers in spring will make you do a double take. In the summer, the sun glimmers off of the lakes and rivers.

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Many celebrities have come from West Virginia. If you’re a football fan, you surely know that Florida State just won the national championship. The coach, Jimbo Fisher? He’s from Clarksburg. Nick Saban, at Alabama, who has won four national championships in his time? He’s from Monongah. The “Logo,” Jerry West, comes straight out tha’ Holler’ too. Stonewall Jackson, the bad ass general from the Civil War. Author Pearl S. Buck. Nick Null- a member of Seal Team 6, the team the performed the raid of Osama Bin Laden’s home. Mary Lou Retton, the olympic gymnast who in 1984 became the first American to win the All-Around Gold? All from West Virginia.

West Virginia provides over 12% of all coal production in the United States. Without us, oil and gas prices would be driven higher due to the lack of resources and the need for more imports. If it wasn’t for the West Virginia men going underground, the country would certainly be strained.

My father and mother both have good jobs. My sister and I both attend college. I’ve never thought about fornicating with a family member. I’ve never chewed tobacco or made moonshine. I have all my teeth. I’m friends with a black kid. I’ve never seen Crystal Meth.  Welfare checks don’t feed me. I wear the brands other states wear, listen to the Billboard Top 100, and I even have internet access. Take a step back and look at us, America- West Virginia isn’t just one big mud hole…it’s where I call home.