Tennessee is a joke.

What a Positive Community is Really Like

by Lewis Loflin

In 2011 tornados tore through parts of Washington County Virginia and nearby East Tennessee. Yet within hours demands and calls for government intervention poured from various elements of our community. My property was damaged too from these storms and I didn't think for one minute about demanding government help.

On the night of January 17, 2014 I was at work and my wife called in a panic. A 750 pound boulder smashed through the back of the house destroying one wall and the kitchen sink area. I rushed home and with the help of neighbors we patched the three foot diameter hole (it was 20 degrees outside) and cleared the broken sink, counter, etc.

The three of us couldn't move the boulder - it would have to be broken up. All I had was some steel chisels and a sledge hammer - the process would take weeks if I could do it at all. My wife called our local volunteer fire dept. and asked if they had any ideas. They thought at first rock, not boulder.

They called someone they knew and he came over to look at it. He first noticed the pile of shattered wood, etc. that was once our sink, counter, etc. in the yard. When he saw what was in the kitchen he was aghast. I was at work at the time and within an hour he brought back a air hammer and after about three hours the boulder had become rocks in my yard. His fee, pass it on to someone else.

The community will step in where one can't help themselves - but one is expected to do what they can. My neighbor and I will rebuild the rest of the kitchen - our volunteer fire dept. will get a far larger donation than what we usually give and if anyone needs help they have my number.

Most of us that live in that part of Washington County Virginia hardly know each other - I didn't know the two men that broke up that boulder. But we don't meddle in each others affairs and those that are simply shiftless takers are soon shunned by everyone. They are the first to demand government "help".

When FEMA turned down Federal money for tornado damage in Washington County, Virginia fighting soon erupted over blaming present Congressman Morgan Griffith for that and claiming former Congressman Rick Boucher, with his close ties to President Obama, would have gotten the money. Besides the whole corrupt aspect of that view, others believe the money was blocked by Obama in retaliation for Boucher's defeat in 2010.

Update 2014: the rebuilding went just fine with private efforts that it should have been to begin with. Local funds and local volunteers rebuilt the ravaged Glade Spring community.

My point is simply this region is a welfare basket case many have come to expect and demand money from others to pay for their problems. The welfare state has destroyed the self-reliance many people here once had and reduced them to wards of the state.

This was also a response to a liberal political activist the Herald Courier placed on their so-called reader advisory panel whose husband (Appalachian Sustainable Development) wasted millions in government grants with zero to show for it. They edited that part out when it was published.

Note the Wall Mart jobs I mentioned cost taxpayers $250 million, Grundy is a town of 1000 people. The Lebanon job fiasco was the Northrop Grumman deal from 2005 where they received a $2.2 billion Virginia State outsourcing contract and continue to crash the state computer system. Turns out that one of the firms involved in this was the same one behind the Obamacare website debacle.

Both of the firms involved exist mainly on government contracting - and the political connections to get the contracts. One person that dared question the deal was fired from his state job.

The Herald Courier itself finally checked into it and found zero economic growth in Lebanon just as I predicted. Russell County lost another 5 percent of its population for its efforts. The healthcare figures came from the Herald Courier itself in 2008.

Government as an industry has mostly replaced traditional self-reliance and thrift with socialist style central planning and government dependence.

Published June 30, 2011 Bristol Herald Courier:

The Federal Emergency Management Agency is under the control of President "Hope and Change" who by the way has not gotten us out of Iraq and Afghanistan, then starts another war with Libya. Tennessee didn't get FEMA merely because of East Tennessee, but widespread damage across the state.

President "Hope and Change" has continued the same destructive Wall Street policies of President George Bush. Where are the prosecutions for fraud? Where is an end to unregulated derivatives and hedge fund trading? Two years of Democratic rule has produced zero.

Let's discuss the 28 years of Rick Boucher's policies. According to Virginia Department of Social Services poverty increased across the region from 1997 to 2007 even here in Washington County before the latest Wall Street debacle.

According to Kiplinger's Best Cities, Washington County-Bristol has the highest cost of living relative to the lowest median family income in Virginia and Tennessee.

Regarding health care, the region still ranks in the bottom 10 percent in the nation.

And where are the jobs? Where is the proof that the 1,000 new high-tech jobs promised in Lebanon ever materialized? And why does an IT job in this region pay 60 percent less than in the rest of Virginia? That's just wrong.

In Grundy, they did get some high paying Walmart jobs. They're wasting another $3 billion on the Coalfields "pork barrel" Expressway that will produce nothing (except big profits for Halliburton) while VDOT is starved for funding and can't fix our roads.

Yes my property is damaged too from the storms and as a veteran, yes cut the military and get our troops home.

It's about time we rely on each other and end the dependence on government welfare in all forms.

Lewis Loflin Bristol, Va.