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I’ll tell you what’s the God’s honest truth, y’all. I have been feeling really lost the last few weeks. 


I crave a voice of faith in Ashe County that speaks out against what is happening to our democracy right now. 


 A voice that contradicts the noise of white Christian nationalism.  Loudly. 


I’m in need of some wisdom and encouragement, so I am turning to you folks to help solve this quandary.  


 I don’t feel right wearing my faith on my sleeve, but neither can I watch silently when the other candidates are purporting their version of Christianity to be the only one.  


Honestly y’all, this feels like the year we all have to step up and speak out against this crap that has been parading as Christianity for years, this crap that looks nothing like the Jesus that said “follow me” 

Personally, I prefer to identify as a follower of the Way of Jesus. I have struggled with the word Christian for many years. 


It feels as though my Christianity has been hijacked by extremists. 

It feels as though my flag has been hijacked by extremists. 

The Sermon on the Mount has been deemed woke by extremists

The Constitution of the United States of America has been deemed woke, again, by extremists. 

 This is not a new thing. The Christian church backed Hitler up until 1945, the Taliban, ISIS, religious nationalism doesn’t change. It’s always the same game, different name. 



What the heck y’all ?  I’ve always figured I’d be good if I stayed on the team that didn’t burn books, and now the people who call themselves followers of Christ are not only doing that, but calling human beings “vermin” , "not really people" . NC overwhelmingly went for a man who says he would prefer women didn't vote and a lot of other crap, State Superintendent of Schools could be a woman who endorses Moms for Liberty. Holy Heifers Batman!!!



For several years I have been studying the evolution of Christianity into White Christian Nationalism.


When Colin Kapernick took a knee, when he shared the story of how he had come to this decision..  I cried… I thought “ Man ! What a  beautiful protest. No one could object to that!”   


Then the president called him a son of a bitch and called for him to be fired from the NFL … since when do presidents get involved in hiring and firing of private individuals working in private corporations? 


All the while we were watching videos of black men and women, black children being murdered by police and when we called for reform to make sure that bad cops got fired, that movement was categorized as bad somehow ?  


And when did it happen that the flag and the cross got confused?  

Was it in 1954 when we added “Under God” to the pledge?

Was it in 1955 when we traded E Pluribus Unum for In God We Trust? Or was it later , after the Civil RIghts Movement when Bob Jones and Jerry Falwell started segregation academies masquerading as Christian schools? 

Gradually we turned the flag and the pledge from something patriotic into something sacred, holy; most of us haven’t even blinked. 


Years ago a Presbyterian preacher from Greensboro, Pastor Mark Sandlin, said to watch out for the Stars and Stripes appearing in sanctuaries.  I don’t believe I would have even been aware of the sinister nature of such a thing had I not had that awareness.  Then I started reading books like “Jesus and John Wayne” by Kristin Kobes DuMez.  “Blessed” by Kate Bowler etc. More recently “The Kingdom, The Power and The Glory” by Tim Alberta, a pastor who speaks out against what has happened to the Evangelical Church. 


As I  became more and more cognizant of the threat I started seeing things. Remember when the Church in Tennessee had a “blessing of the guns service” 

(if you don’t, just Google Greg Locke)  Or churches right here in Ashe started removing women Sunday School teachers from being in authority over 12 year old boys?  

When the sheriff's campaign posters featured a cross wrapped up in a flag? 

We stuck our fingers in our ears and said  lalalalalalalalala he’s a God fearing Christian lalalalalalala. 



These were not signs of a healthy democracy y’all. Now they are saying the quiet part out loud, and well, here we are. 

 We have a group teaching  constitution classes  based on the premise that God wrote the Constitution.  Yeah, the one that starts out “We the people of the United States of America… “  that one, yep.

The republican people of our county and state overwhelmingly just selected a man to run for Governor who has said “Women should never have been allowed to vote” among other ridiculous things.  Who called “the civil rights movement “crap” and vowed to work on MLK Day because he’s “not a leach." “


We have a minority of citizens who have hamstrung the entire country because they believe that a con artist is the Second Coming of Jesus.  

The same man who had the national guard clear a church so he could stand in front of it holding a Bible upside down for a photo op ! 

The guy who autographs Bibles. 

Yep, that's the one. 

Maybe they don’t all believe that, but he serves their purposes so they don’t contradict him. 


When are we going to take off the gloves and call him what he is? 

I realize this blog entry will probably lose me some voters. But if I, and those who think like me, don't speak out… Well then, who will?  


 Anyway…. If y’all would just keep me in your hearts and in your prayers… I sure would appreciate it.  I’ve got to decide if this campaign calls for opening my mouth or shutting it.  

Stay tuned. 

I love you !


Nancy Beth 

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I was graduated from Northwest Ashe in 1983.

 I went to ASU, but I left there with an MRS. instead of a BS


I want y'all to know now, 

 It took me 18 years to get out of this hellhole… 

about a month to get homesick 

and another 18 years to~~~ finally at last~~~ get home! 

I love this place and its people with all my heart. 

It’s part of me just as I am part of it. 



To paraphrase Stephen Vincent Benet 

 “when the last moonshiner buys his radio, and the last, lost, wild-rabbit of a girl is civilized with a mail-order dress, something will pass that was (Ashe county) -Stephen Vincent Benét 1928


That something HAS  passed y’all, 

We are tasked with making peace with this fact. 


Ashe county is growing in ways we could never have imagined ! 

The world has found us, It’s not altogether a bad thing. 


Well … except maybe when your dog trees about 2am over on yon ridge and you can’t get to it because someone fenced in a one acre lot and put up a gate…  


 But I reckon we ARE starting to get  used to that a little bit aren’t we?

Anyway, We are a unique place with some of the most extraordinary people in the world ! 

I just want to make sure that as we grow, we aren’t leaving the folks who belong to Ashe county behind!

I have experienced first-hand Ashe County’s classism, the interaction between the “haves and have-nots”, 

Now we are faced with an influx of “have-a-lots”

and the chasm gets broader. 

 I do remember,      with fondness,     the good stuff that was here  before we got “discovered” 

And the bad. 


Ashe county could then, and still can be,  a pretty  harsh place to live. 

I am running for County Commissioner because I want to see Ashe County at the table.

All of Ashe County. 

I want for everyone in Ashe county to be able to claim the dignity that is due every human being. 

No matter who your daddy was.  

How many times have you ended a conversation with  "now that we've solved all the problems of the world…


 Problems which don’t get addressed because they are only seen in glossy reports full of

statistics,  demographics, just a bunch of numbers with no faces, no young’uns, no mamaws and papaws, no real people 


It is so important that the focus begins to be turned on the people who belong to Ashe County ! 

Why do we continue to make people choose between making a living  and living here ?  

Why is 800 a month considered low income housing and $8 an hour considered adequate pay?

Why do some of our  most vulnerable citizens have to live in substandard housing?

Why do we have to go off the mountain to get treatment for substance misuse disorders ? 


Where is the opioid money? 


 Is it EVER going to reach the people who have truly been hurt by this scourge? 

A public health emergency that was deliberately brought to us and other places like ours?

OUR PEOPLE were systematically turned into a product.

They sucked us dry and here we are to pick up the pieces? 

How many families do you know who are affected ? 



Our folks aren’t provided with a way to fight their substance misuse because some are still making money off perpetuating the myth that addiction is a moral failing instead of a physiological disease.

The damage is multigenerational and we have to come at it with both barrels and begin to heal. 

WE NEED that money invested in this community. 

We need jobs that we can live on and live with! 

We need places to live!


Ashe County belongs to the people who belong to Ashe County 

Let’s give those people a voice. Let's work for the people who have been waiting for too long


The speech I gave to the Ashe County Wildlife Club on Feb 19, 2024 Nancy Beth : )

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Last Saturday the Democratic Precinct Officers invited the Commissioner candidates to their meeting. Not gonna lie y'all, I went completely down a rabbit hole, it was a minor disaster... thankfully it was a friendly crowd, everyone was very kind.

Anyway, here is what i meant to say!


"Hey y’all ,

I am Nancy Beth Weaver and I am running for county commissioner. 

Thank you so much for inviting us here today to talk about how we can work together to win in November. 

So here goes : ) y’all be gentle now, I’m not much of a public speaker !  

Sometimes when I’m trying to talk, my tongue gets all tangled up in my teeth and it's just plain awful !  

So … my platform??? 

My platform is squarely centered on the folks who live and work here.  We live in,  arguably, the most uniquely beautiful place in the entire world. 


We have built an amazing model of tourism, and the people who come to visit, move here, build second homes and retirement homes are by and large absolutely lovely people who enrich this place ! 


 Please Please don’t dismiss me as a  nativist.  


I know everyone thinks this about where they live… but Ashe County is truly special.  These mountains are 480 million years old… the Appalachian chain goes from Georgia all the way into Ireland and Scotland. 

 There is a mineral deposit, a Serpentine chain,  that runs from through here  to where our ancestors came from. This place y’all… it's not just a place, it grabs you and holds on to you. We do truly belong to this place.  


Ashe County Belongs to The People Who Belong To Ashe County.

 The people who live and work and raise young’uns and worship and play and love here. 


The tourism industry brought in tons of construction jobs, restaurant jobs… 

It looked good on paper, but it has served to starve out the folks who live here. 


And these are the people who are being left behind, pushed out… sent off the mountain for jobs, lost to addiction and poverty. 

Every person who is forced to leave here takes something with them. Every person who falls victim to substance misuse … lord… I don't know how to explain that the generational knowledge of this place is being lost. And it is a terrible loss. It is reducing us… it makes us less with every passing day. 



Horribly addictive drugs for many years were being pushed on our people from doctors offices and emergency departments all over the country… but specifically targeted Ashe County and places like us.


This has been admitted to by pharmaceutical companies  Proven in lawsuits and medical studies. It is fact !!


You know where it's NOT being recognized ? Here… here in good old Ashe County. 


AND THEN .. if that wasn’t bad enough y’all.


They brought that horrible tv show in here to showcase the dumb hillbillies.  No knock raids threatening to shoot a kid with their hand in a potato chip bag, because he missed a court date for trespassing.


Telling the whole country that we are stupid rednecks.

Propagating the fallacy that addiction, substance misuse is a moral failing. 


We don’t even ALLOW medical care for people who are forced to detox in jail 


There's a lot of money still being made out of the opioid crisis.  

I saw Barbara Kingsolver speak about her book Demon Copperhead up in Abingdon last year. She said “y’all the thing keeping me up at night is that the opioid money is never going to reach the people that have been affected by the substance misuse crisis”  


It’s keeping me up at night too. 



So please, if y’all can find a little grace in your hearts for me. I know it may seem like I am over focused on our folks who belong to these mountains. 


I just see generations of hurt in their eyes.  


From the chestnut and old growth forest removal and the Smethport extract plant that bought bark for tannin,  to the more recent predatory purchasing of family farms and the drugs that have stolen 3 generations of mountaineers from us… 

If you can find a family in Ashe County that hasn’t been touched by substance misuse… well good on you.. I haven’t run across one lately.


We have been the product for a very long time. 

And I think it's time we stood up to fix it. 


Jane Hicks, East Tennessee poet who coined the term Cosmic Possum, said

The possum is the perfect symbol of my beloved Appalachia: underappreciated, misunderstood, and the ultimate survivor in the face of all manners of predation.’

 

We will survive this predation too , but it’s going to take us all working together to put the people who have been left behind back up in front as the proud mountaineers we have always been !  

I believe its not too late 

I intend to work for ALL of Ashe County.

 When the river gets up all the canoes float a little higher : )  


And then there's Jobs… Jobs that pay a living wage !  I was stunned to read this:


Quote  “ The center starts teachers at $10 per hour and pays credentialed teachers $11 per hour. Teachers with an associate degree start at $15, a bachelor’s degree starts at $18, and a master’s starts at $23” Rebecca Rash, Director of Ashe Developmental Day School. 


Are we serious?  Geez y’all 



Ohhhhh and don't even get me started on corporate welfare !! 



Why in the heck are these corporations not subsidizing childcare ?

why are we asking mamas who are working in service industry jobs  to come up with hundreds of dollars a month so their children can be safe while they work? 


Honestly, IMO, corporations should provide free child care onsite and promote happier families.  

Might as well dream big huh? 


I have never understood  the reason we can’t have good jobs here. 


 It used to be that if  you went up north and said you were from Ashe County NC you were just hired automatically. Just ask some of the generation that went north for jobs after WWII.  Our work ethic and character were well known. Seems like we’ve always sent our workforce away instead of fostering employment here. 



  Twenty five years ago, the data management company that my husband worked for wanted to locate in Ashe. The starting salary was around $10 and I was told that having a salary that high would be too much competition for our other employers and would put our Tier 1 economic status in jeopardy.  (We are now classified as a Tier 2 county) 


Here's the thing, our folks who live,work and raise families here are the ones who are trying to live below  poverty level.



 Is this so we can be a ready and hungry workforce for the folks controlling the assets?  


Cynical?

I reckon I probably am.   But who is profiting  from cheap labor?


 It’s been working this way for an awfully long time and it’s hard to believe it is accidental. 



 What the heck y’all ? Why can my son walk into a job starting at 15 dollars an hour in Onslow county in 2015 , and make well  over $30 now … but here $9 is high pay.. Walmart will start you at 15, but they don’t give very many enough hours for that to make a difference. And you might find , as my high school junior granddaughter just learned, they don’t accept doctors notes. So if you have the flu, but you only have 3 hours of personal leave time built up, then its too bad so sad, you no longer have a job. 

Somebody is making some money here and it's not the workers. Someone… several someones…  in this county are  propping this model up and thats a corruption that needs to be rooted out.



Housing, Child Care, Fully funded public schools,

I could go on and on, but y’all know the issues better than I do and I’m sure you’ve heard enough of my rattling on. 

 

So here's my campaign promise.  

I will always work for the people who live and work in Ashe County, The people who love Ashe County 

And if you’ll help me get elected, I believe together we can make this a better place to live for all of us !  

One more thing  I would like to ask you , 


Whose Ashe County is this anyway??

It is Our Ashe County !!! 

Let's do this ! "


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