Ever since I began volunteering at the joint Harrisonburg/Rockingham County Republican Party booth at the age of fifteen, I always looked forward to the local fair with great anticipation. No doubt the fair was my favorite political event. The chance to spread your message to scores of those who walked past your table, the opportunity to speak with various politicians, the camaraderie, it was all great fun.
The image pictured here is from exactly four years ago, August 16th, 2011. That night, the Shenandoah Valley Young Republicans staffed the table. I cannot say that I remember too much from that evening, other than a visit from our local state senator, Mark Obenshain, who proudly wore a new set of boots that had been given to him by then Texas Governor Rick Perry after Senator Obenshain endorsed Perry’s bid to be the Republican nominee for president in 2012. The next day, I wrote about the experience.
As for the folks pictured, going from left to right, Chad (Delegate Tony Wilt’s legislative assistant) and Savanna (Delegate Dickie Bell’s legislative assistant) are still active in politics and living in the area. They got married a few months after this photo was taken and recently celebrated the birth of their first child. I’d glad to say that they are still honorable folks. Jared (Senator Obenshain’s now former legislative assistant) moved up to D.C. to work for a lobbying firm after the 2014 elections. Patrick stuck around for a while, working on Senator Obenshain’s 2013 bid for attorney general until he supposedly stole a rival campaign’s cell phone, switched to the Stewart campaign for lieutenant governor, and allegedly tried to blackmail the Snyder campaign at that year’s state Republican convention. I have not heard about him since that time. And then, in a rather peculiar pose, you find yours truly, the only person not employed in politics when the photo was taken.
At that time, I had no idea that the 2011 fair would be my last volunteering on behalf of the GOP. However, the next year when the YR party leadership under John (not pictured) began to attack me repeatedly, worked to discredit and diminish the 2012 Ron Paul campaign, and later tried to undermine my then employment with a group called We rVirginia, coupled with the fact that the party was running a candidate that year that embraced stances that sounded almost identical to the big government solutions advocated by his Democratic opponent, the joy that came from my yearly tradition of volunteering at the GOP table was gone. In 2013, I offered my services at the local Libertarian Party booth, but neither they nor I have been back to the fair since that time.
I hope that the magic isn’t completely lost, and that I’ll have the chance to work a political booth at the Rockingham County Fair at some point in the future. However, when that day comes, I assure you it will only be for a cause that appreciates its volunteers, one that has some semblance of honor, and one that I believe in.