West Virginia (WV) is one of the friendliest places I have been. It is also a maze of contradictions; I eat lunch in a hipster place, being served by a man who would be at home in Haight Ashbury circa 1968, and sitting next to a conservatively dressed woman who asks me in the nicest tone: “when will we northerners stop complaining and realize America needs to go back its bible-focused values”.
Later I walk by a group of people wearing “Yayy God” t-shirts and run into Millennial Meg who has joined every protest since Nov 8. Meg is one the first people I have met to sense that what ever reproductive rights the good people of WV enjoy now may go the way of a calving glacier in Greenland. Meg is married and a native West Virginian, but worried that she might have to migrate north to “have the same rights my mom did”.
While a married millennial is worried that her rights will be trampled, Alice (not her real first name) is all for laws restricting access. Alice, is super friendly and charming. As a result of an un-planned, un-wanted (at-time) pregnancy she was the victim of domestic violence and had her economic mobility severely restricted. Despite that, she believes that millennials: “are popping abortion pills at any opportunity, and that has got to stop”. Alice is sort of ok with abortions up to 12 weeks but not sure they should be preformed the way they are. I am sure if someone surveyed her they would find her both pro choice and for closing the clinics that provide them. The amazing thing is that all sides seem to like each other and accept that they are on different ends of reproductive rights question.
Told ya this is complex, but perhaps the tolerance and friendliness in Charleston could be a model to get a dialog going with those in political power.