I've lived in Mechanicsville for 10 years and in many ways it reminds me of the small north-Arkansas town in which I grew up. My three daughters enjoyed a solid education at Stonewall Jackson and Lee-Davis and I have enjoyed the simple pleasures of life in a small town.
There is a long tradition of conservatism in our community, but Tea Party extremists have taken conservatism to new depths. The flaws and failures of the radical right's approach to governance are becoming more and more obvious; their continued focus on bad politics for their own benefit rather than good policies for the benefit of all is driving more and more reasonable, thinking people towards democratic ideas. We must continue to present intelligent alternatives to the Tea Party approach and speak truth to the radical right's misinformation.
Our young people are key in continuing our outreach. Almost invariably, when you ask a teenager why they are conservative, the answer is, "Because my parents are." Young progressives have often overcome that influence and have actually thought about the issues that are meaningful in their lives. We have to encourage that questioning approach to life and learning - the desire to seek what's best for everyone, not just themselves or their chosen special interests.