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This must be the place

art theplaceEditor’s Note: On Feb. 9, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders won the Democratic primary in New Hampshire. Garret posted a photo of him and Sanders on his Facebook page with a few thoughts on Sanders, who is a longtime popular politician in Garret’s native Champlain Valley (Upstate New York/Vermont). To which, hundreds of people clicked “like” on the post, with many commenting on this image and the man himself.

Below is the initial post, as well as an interaction between Garret and another person on the social media site. 

Garret’s photo caption: “Ran into this guy a few years back, at midnight, in the silent and empty D.C. airport. I was sitting by myself at the terminal bar, awaiting a cancelled flight to resume. Bernie was by himself, too. No entourage or bodyguards, just a guy trying to make his flight. I’ve known this man as long as I have been alive. He’s been my ‘local’ politician since day one. North Country all the way, onward onto the national stage. Never changed. Never backed down. I ain’t picking sides (as a good journalist should), but, hell, the guy hasn’t shifted his stance since the 1960s. No skeletons. Nothing. Wild to see this guy who everyone said back in the day, ‘Could you imagine if he ever ran for president?’ and now he is, and is winning the vote, as seen tonight in New Hampshire. I’m just in awe of the momentum. Public excitement in politics, when it’s pure, is pretty incredible to witness.”

Comment to Garret’s post from a former West Virginia resident: “Really?? Y’all need help!! Hillary or Bernie as president? What kinda drugs are you people on?? Do the rest of America a favor and move to Canada. What is Bernie’s stance? Right side of the issue? Y’all are messed up!! For the sake of our country and children ... Our grandchildren ... Wake up!! 20 to 30 years ago when I grew up things were diff. You had to work hard for what you wanted. It’s a part of life! I've seen first hand what Democrats can do to a state ... a country ... WV was a predominant Democrat state. The state is suffering!! Did you vote for Obama too? How about making the right choice this time and stop playing with our future!!! Others are gonna have to live here when we are gone. 18-27 years olds ... You guys don’t have the experience of what this country was like back then. Our youth with under-developed political minds can’t begin to understand the position you put our country in ... Ask yourself about all the criminal acts of this presidential cabinet which includes Hillary Clinton. How can you vote for her? Bengazi? Lying under oath about emails? Allowing this crazy nuclear deal with Iran? Trade Taliban for a traitor in the US? Created an extensive race baiting war etc. Reading these posts make me sick!! Hard to believe you can call yourself an American!!!?”

Garret’s response to the comment above: “Well, from a historical perspective, West Virginia was destroyed by the coal and energy industry, gutted for profit and left behind by the likes of corporations (i.e.: Koch Brothers). Twenty years ago, when the economy was thriving, was under the Bill Clinton administration. Thirty years ago, in the midst of great poverty, AIDS and such, the economy was definitely thriving, though it was an illusion as seen 30 years ago next year (1987) when Wall Street tanked after big business and greedy investors gutted the market. So, there’s that … And I will say, people still work hard for what they want. Most of us do. Truly. If anything, we’re also in the most productive era of this country, in terms of output per person. To which, West Virginia is in the midst of a drug abuse crisis, a direct result of hard-working blue collar folks breaking their backs for the energy industry, which resulted in injuries and manipulation by the pharmaceutical industry that market oxycontin and hydros to these middle class and lower class folks, thus creating a generation of addicts, crime and civil unrest. In conclusion, your neighbor isn’t out to get you, big business is. That alone is where ‘wake up’ should be applied. Corporations don’t care about you or me, they care about the bottom line. Disagreement, especially politically, is one of the things this country was founded on. We’ve always had disagreement, but what’s missing these days, a lost art perhaps, is the idea of compromise. We all can find a common ground instead of standing on either side of a large canyon and yelling at the top of our lungs to make sure the other side can hear us. Much love, y’all.”


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Hot picks

1 Bluegrass/Americana act The Midnight Plowboys will perform at 4 p.m. Sunday, Feb. 21, at the Cataloochee Guest Ranch in Maggie Valley.

2 Lazy Hiker Brewing (Franklin) will host Colby Dietz (Americana/folk) at 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20.

3 The Coffee with the Poet series continues with Catherine Cater at 10:30 a.m. Thursday, Feb. 18, at City Lights Bookstore in Sylva. 

4 Ruth’s Chris Steak House will host a dinner consisting of a custom-created five-course menu paired with wines and spirits at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Feb. 25, at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino Resort.

5 The Oconaluftee Visitor Center (Cherokee) will host a back porch old-time music jam from 1 to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 20.

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