The Virginian Creed
“To be a Virginian either by Birth, Marriage, Adoption, or even on one’s Mother’s side, is an Introduction to any State in the Union, a Passport to any Foreign Country, and a Benediction from Above.”
I’m sure I’ve come across the Virginian Creed many times, but my first specific memory of reading it was in the living room of a couple who moved to North Carolina in retirement, but prior to then were lifelong Virginians. It was a neat feeling to be sitting in their home – in another state – and sharing an understanding of just how special the Commonwealth is. Virginia has a lengthy governmental and agricultural history, and the VALOR fellows were given a glimpse of both during Seminar IV. The General Assembly is the oldest continuously operated legislature in the Western Hemisphere. Our popular license plates proudly display that we’ve been farming in Virginia since 1614.
The question remains, is it enough to be a Virginian? A faculty member around the hall from me has a cartoon taped to his door that reads something to the effect of “It isn’t enough to show up, you must have a plan!” This carries over to our duty as citizens to be active and engaged in the democratic process. We can’t expect for the process to work merely by “showing up” as residents of Virginia. We have a duty and obligation to be a part of the running of our state. Based on our comfort level, we can do this by voting at the local, state and federal levels, by accepting offers of our elected officials to be a part of the political process, and by encouraging our fellow citizens to do the same. We can also be a part of the process through involvement in the policy development processes of organizations like Virginia Farm Bureau and the Virginia Agribusiness Council, which advocate on behalf of their membership and the industry.
This is a much overdue thanks to the many elected officials, organizations, and businesspeople who took time to remind the VALOR fellows to be engaged Virginians during our time in Richmond earlier this year.