“While contentious issues like the Atlantic Coast Pipeline still exist internally for Democrats, we believe Northam will work with stakeholders to ensure that all voices, progressive and moderate alike, will have a say in the future of the Commonwealth.” – an excerpt from the article, RVA Mag Endorses Ralph Northam in the 2017 Governor’s Race.
So, RVA Mag is throwing themselves headlong into political coverage by endorsing Ralph Northam for Governor. Well, at least cautiously, like the last person in a group of friends to jump from one rock to another in the James River, but here we are on the rock above the polluted water nonetheless.
Right on y’all; it is high time we recognize and act on the interconnectedness of policy making and cultural consensus. After all, it is this recognition which has allowed the right wing to congeal and metastasize in our country. We can all agree there would be no Trump presidency if not for websites like Drudge Report and Breitbart, which are as much culture outlets as they are news sites.
RVA Mag’s Northam Endorsement
That said, the centrist direction chosen by the RVA Mag editorial staff is highly disappointing. Northam, is far from an ideal candidate, and we should acknowledge his glaring faults. He is as much Dominion’s politician as he is the voters. And after taking more than $100,000 from the for-profit energy conglomerate, he remains beholden to their influence.
Because of this compromise, he – like Terry McAuliffe – will never be able to offer a complete moral platform that the Virginia left-wing can get behind. Point by point, he is much better better than Ed Gillespie – one of whose top individual donors is none other than war criminal, former President George W. Bush (with another 25k chipped in from neocon overlord Karl Rove). Northam is no one to cheer, however. He is the lesser of two evils that has gone too far down the corporate-sponsored river to fully recover.
It is a huge mistake to write off the proposed Atlantic Coast and Mountain Valley pipelines as some sort of internal issue for Virginia Democrats. This is a putridly banal analysis and it is morally reprehensible to minimize this issue to one dependent clause at the end of an otherwise decent, if cheerleaderish endorsement (it is also a mischaracterization, a couple of the GOP homoxenophobes who lost to the lobbyist Gillespie were also anti-pipeline).
The fight over these proposed pipelines is a struggle between two distinct sources of power: That of for-profit Virginians, and that of social solidarity Virginians, the latter of which holds the notion that home is more valuable than any dollar amount.
In this fight, economic might is only as valuable as the culture it can control. It is a great shame that RVA Mag, now that they have taken sides, will not fully commit to the struggle against the proposed pipelines and exploiting powers that are pushing pipelines on the land of unwilling Virginians. RVA Mag could be a great player in this struggle.
The only way to really get on board, morally speaking, with the proposed pipelines, is if you’re really absorbing Dominion’s marketing efforts (or you’re on their sediment-polluted gravy train). The other option, once you have heard the voices of the farmers and landowners whose lands are being rendered unusable – for the sake of the pipeline – is to simply not pay attention and to write off this tremendous struggle as a squabble that does not affect you.
Either believing Dominion at their word, or choosing to look the other way from the suffering this issue will cause is highly influenced by the culture in which we live.
Public approval of these pipelines, thus becomes a question of who can make their case more broadly or more powerfully. If RVA Mag knows about the proposed pipelines, but chooses not to comment on them – taking the Richmond Times Dispatch route of reporting without condemnation – then they let Dominion’s agenda go unchallenged and their power unchecked. Not that any single publication can halt the agenda of a company as powerful and profit-hungry as Dominion, but if we’re choosing sides then let’s be clear about whose side we’re on.
This publication has been too easily appeased by access to Northam’s campaign, by mere pleasantries and apparent vocal affirmations. An appearance in alternative media is no sure sign of a good policy maker.
Excerpt from RVA Mag’s Northam Endorsement
Power reveals real human decency. It is easy to be decent when you’re just hanging out with Richmonders who are into good shows, beer and food – we hedonists are a good time. But by being appeased, RVA Mag risks becoming part of the centrist, status-quo accepting establishment in Richmond, losing whatever “alternative” cultural cache it might have had.
I greatly appreciate RVA Mag offering a platform for dissenting voices. But if they are going to just tow the Virginia Democratic Party line in their editorials, then the sway and reach of this rag will remain limited, which would be a great shame. Because a magazine like this could help push issues like the proposed pipelines to the forefront of the cultural and political discourse in Richmond.
That would not only be truly counter-cultural, but also the moral thing to do. Because right now, Northam and the monied powers aren’t going to do anything to help our friends in the counties whose lives would be majorly fucked up by these pipelines, nor are they going to protect the James River.
Not unless we, in unison, demand they do so.