What Happened to West Virginia Values?


MARCH 6, 2019

[CHARLESTON, W. VA.] United Mine Workers of America (UMWA) International President Cecil E. Roberts issued the following statement today:

“The despicable, un-American display put up by a Republican Party organization in the State Capitol rotunda is a stark reminder that too many have turned their backs on traditional West Virginia values like equality, respect for others and common decency. Unfortunately, this session of the West Virginia Legislature has been yet another example of the erosion of those values.

“First, a State Delegate compared an entire group of Americans to Nazis, just because of who they love. He went on to imply he would drown his own children if he discovered they were gay. Yet there have been no repercussions to him, despite the horrific nature of his statements.

“Then last week, our values were further insulted by a racially offensive poster displayed by a Republican organization comparing a black female member of the United States Congress to the perpetrators of the September 11, 2001 attacks on our nation. The poster ignored the fact that the Congresswoman is duly elected to her position by American citizens in her district. We are free to disagree with her positions on issues, but to equate her to terrorists merely because of her ethnicity and faith is an affront to every American.

“Understandably, the slimy racism that poster oozed made people angry. After all that has occurred in this legislature, tempers boiled over. A dedicated, long-term servant of the people of West Virginia, Del. Mike Caputo, attempted to enter the floor of the House to discuss how to ease tensions but was barred from doing so. He went in anyway.

“Sooner or later, everyone can be pushed to anger. Even Jesus took up a whip and drove the moneychangers from the Temple. I have known Mike Caputo for a long time. He is one of the most even-tempered, nonviolent people I have ever met. He has apologized for what happened. The same cannot be said for the “gays are Nazis” Delegate or for the person who thought it was a good idea to display outright racism on a poster in the State Capitol.

“Growing up on Cabin Creek, I learned that all people should be treated with dignity and respect, regardless of the color of their skin, regardless of their faith, regardless of who they love, regardless of where they came from or the languages they speak. That is what the Bible teaches us. That is what makes American society great. We lose those ideals at our peril as a nation.