The Tuesday, 9/22/22 Charleston Gazette Mail carried my letter to the editor responding to an editorial by the VP of HD Media and Executive Editor who wrote an opinion piece PRAISING ROGER HANSHAW SPEAKER OF THE WV HOUSE (R-CLAY) BECAUSE HE WAS SO CALM AND POLITE AS HE RAMMED THROUGH AN ABORTION BAN (WITH NO PUBLIC INPUT OR EXPERT TESTIMONY)! I'll post the text of his piece and the text of mine below. The hell if I'm going to make anybody pay to read them. I'm mad as hell and I'm not going to take it anymore!
Lee Wolverton: A speaker standing tall in the mire (Opinion)
Sep 16, 2022
Before writing that which I am about to write, I must do that which I am loathe to do regarding anyone holding political office. I must ask forgiveness. I must ask this because I am about to write that which I rarely find cause to write regarding elected officials. That is:
Roger Hanshaw appears from where I sit to be that rare sort in the modern milieu: A leader of keen intellect and high integrity and a respecter of law, propriety and decorum. The speaker of the West Virginia House and a Republican from Clay County, Hanshaw representsconservatism of yore — principled, thoughtful and reasoned.
This does not indicate I concur with him on the issues. It means rather that, observing him from afar, I find him to be what politics in West Virginia and America badly need in both parties — men and women of intelligence, skill and decency.
Those traits are virtually absent across the political spectrum, which is why I must ask forgiveness. Getting praise from the editor overseeing news operations at the Charleston Gazette-Mail and Herald-Dispatch, especially the former, is for a Republican in this state like getting a kiss from your sister after learning she contracted the flu.
For that reason and others, I am generally disinclined in this space to single out for praise or criticism individual officeholders below the rank of governor. It is more apropos to my thinking to opine broadly on the issues of the moment, and, of course, the issue of the moment is that onetime third rail known as abortion. Plenty of others are sounding off on that topic. Another voice would only add to the multitudes.
In Hanshaw’s case, I am compelled to deviate from custom because he is emblematic of something lost not only in politics and American culture but across the wider expanse of Western civilization. The human species long has been infected by liars, cheats and chiselers.
They will always be among us. But their successes once were fleeting. Corruption empowered and emboldened crooks such as William M. “Boss” Tweed, Richard M. Nixon and Arch A. Moore Jr., but it also eventually ensnared them.
People in power long have bullied others, but they once understood that public boorishness was bad politics. Lyndon Johnson on the Democratic side and Nixon on the Republican were presidents notoriously vulgar privately but publicly restrained because the lines of acceptable conduct were plainly delineated in American society.
All this has given way to a perversion of Tammy Wynette’s “Stand by Your Man” ode to domestic stupidity. Constituents no longer give a damn whether a carpet-bagging lawmaker is being investigated by the Congressional Ethics Office for buying Chick-fil-A sandwiches with campaign donation money. They care only that he voted against an infrastructure bill, not because of the legislation’s lacking merit but merely because its passage would represent a victory for the leader of the opposing party. That’s their principle: Shaft the other guy, always.
Hanshaw provides welcome contrast to this manner of thinking, partly because he has manners. With grace and dignity, he leads a state House where chaos would reign without him and surely will if he is toppled as speaker. This observation follows Tuesday’s rancor, when shouts of protest filled the House before lawmakers approved one of the strictest abortion bans in America. Hanshaw responded with typical calm before ordering the protesters removed in an affair that could have been avoided had the vote swiftly taken place instead of being preceded by floor speeches that stirred already raw emotions.
Engineering a quick vote would have necessitated Hanshaw performing greater feats of herding cats on the right than possible in current conditions. West Virginia’s state House no longer is a legislative chamber but a theater of the rabid in a Republican Vanity Fair that makes the one of allegory look like a bastion of tranquility and virtue.
Somehow, Hanshaw has navigated this Slough of Ordure avoiding both stain and stench. The same can be said neither of his counterpart in the state Senate nor of others in the upper chamber who were sullied by their own filth during their profane taunting of their House Republican colleagues last year over state income taxes.
West Virginia and America could do with a great many more like Hanshaw. One among his own party is angling to unseat him as speaker. What that delegate should be doing is supporting Hanshaw, learning from him and seeking to emulate him. That would add another adult to the one standing now among toddlers riding a supermajority high and riding West Virginia straight into Bat Earth.
Lee Wolverton is the vice president of news and executive editor of HD Media. He can be reached at 304-348- 4802 or email@example.com.
I am flabbergasted by HD Media's VP of News and Executive Editor, Lee Wolverton's piece in Saturday, September 17th's Gazette-Mail in praise of the politeness of Republican House Speaker Roger Hanshaw during the passage of House Bill 302.
The bill outlaws abortion in WV except in very narrow circumstances that will exclude many or most victims of rape of incest and force doctors to make life and death decisions under penalty of losing their licenses or even prosecution. This bill will result in unfathomable misery for many West Virginians and their families, who, if they can't travel to a place where abortion is legal, and even if they can, may lose their health or lives. Hanshaw brought the revised bill to the floor without allowing the public more than a couple days to read it. No committees reviewed it, no medical experts were publicly consulted, and the public had no opportunity to comment.
Hanshaw, the legislators who voted for it, and the governor who signed it will have blood on their hands. There's nothing polite about that.
Paul Epstein, Charleston, WV