Is there something wrong with being from Northern Virginia?

Please note, this isn’t a political post. I just want to defend where I live.

Yet again, someone with the McCain campaign has insisted on saying that those of us from Northern Virginia are somehow less American than those who live in the rest of the state.

In an appearance on MSNBC on Saturday, McCain campaign talking head Nancy Pfotenhauer accused voter-rich Northern Virginia of not being, well, Virginia enough. “The Democrats have just come in from the District of Columbia,” she said of the area. “The rest of the state, the real Virginia, if you will, will be very responsive to Senator McCain’s message.” Watch the clip above.

Far from being an isolated verbal gaffe, Pfotenhauer’s claim follows in the footsteps of Joe McCain, who accused Northern Virginia of being “communist country,” and Gov. Sarah Palin, who recently differentiated between “real America” and everything else. (Hint: “real” America votes McCain-Palin.)

I have lived in Northern Virginia since I was seven years old. I like living in Virginia. I identify as living in Virginia. (As opposed to “the DC area”). I am frankly proud to live in Virginia. I can give you a dozen good reasons why I’d rather live in Virginia than Maryland. (DC is a different story).

Is our part of Virginia up here different than the rest of the state? Sure it is. But it really pisses me off to see us identified as some kind of left-wing enclave out of touch with the rest of Virginia, or seemingly America. Northern Virginia is a very diverse area that has nearly every kind of person from left-to-right, from rich-to-poor. I think Northern Virginia is one of the best cross sections of America you could find. From rural bits of Western Loudoun to the urban cores of Tysons Corner, Arlington and Alexandria with all the suburbs and exurbs in between. Northern Virginia is precisely America.

Here is another example. Currently the area known as Northern Virginia is served by three US Congressmen – James Moran, an unabashed liberal serving the areas of Alexandria and Arlington, Frank Wolf, a staunch conservative serving the Western suburbs and a moderate Republican in Tom Davis serving everyone else. Davis is retiring and will likely be replaced by an equally moderate Democrat who used to run Fairfax County.

At the statehouse level, in the recent past we’ve had Democratic Governors and Republican Governors, we’ve had black Governors and white Governors. We’ve had Democratic governors that conservatives have liked and we’ve had Republican senators whom liberals have liked. We’ve had a period of nearly unrivaled economic success in this state with Democratic governors and a conservative Republican-controlled statehouse. Ask someone who remembers Ohio when it was a single-party dictatorship under Gov. Taft or anyone who lives in Maryland whether a bit of divided Government works better than the alternative. It does. And I, for one, like it that way.

Does that indicate that this area is full of nothing but latte-sipping liberals? It does not. Does it indicate we’re a bunch of hillbillys and rednecks? It does not. We’re somewhere in the middle – just like most of the country.

That’s why it so aggravates me to see us tarred like this. Sure, is this area as a whole trending further left than the rest of the state? Probably, but if you looked closely you’d probably just find that we’re closer to the political center of a state that trends rightward.

So, my wish out there is for those in public life to do that rarest of things and think a bit before you call my home un-American, or un-Virginian, or whatever. It’s really quite rude and simply offensive.

Oh, you want this to relate to soccer, do you? Well, we’ve had quite our little list of local talents including Mia Hamm, Bruce Arena, Brian Carroll, Chris Carrieri, Abe Thompson, Clarence Goodson, David Stokes (hey, they like him in the USL), Ali Krieger, and even Devon McTavish if you stretch the borders a little. (And, yes I am surely forgetting others).

Anyway, rant over.


2 thoughts on “Is there something wrong with being from Northern Virginia?

  1. Don’t get your knickers in a twist. I’ve lived in Virginia for 33 years, 27 of which have been spent in NoVa.

    We always used to joke about NoVa being the 51st state when I was in college because it really has almost nothing in common with the rest of the Commonwealth. I like northern Virginia, but spend a little time south of Fredericksburg and you’ll see what I mean.

  2. I’ve lived in Virginia for around 16 of my 30 years as a Navy brat. The first half was spent in the Norfolk/Hampton area, the second half in Northern Virginia. But the Tidewater region is as different from Northern Virginia as it is from the Blue Ridge skyline area.

    For what it’s worth, Dana and I took a vaction through Virginia’s wine country last month and we saw more Obama/Biden signs than McCain/Palin… and we certainly NOT in Northern Virginia.

    The thing that I find the funniest about Virginia is that traditionally National Democrats have usually been supporters of the “Redistribution of Wealth” philosophy. But in Virginia, the Democrats of Northern Virginia don’t like their tax money to go to anyone south of Fredericksburg… to the poorer rural areas.

    I don’t remember who’s campain commericial I’ve seen recently, but the guy has specifically said he wants Virginia to pay for Northern Virginia’s traffic problems.

    It’s these type of thinkers that give Northern Virginia the bad reputation.

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