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Changing Hearts

Hey Y’all, My name is Nancy Beth Weaver and I want to change the world… so   I’m running for county commissioner. 

We all know what the issues are … Housing, Drugs, Health Care, Wages, etc 

We all know the solution starts with a Local Government that understands the things that affect our families.  

Could we do something a bit different today? 

May I tell you a story?

  A story that will maybe shed a little light on the division that  seems to 

both  feed and feed on the fear and the anger we often experience

This is a story about how Ashe County folks have often been used as a product.

 We have all met that person who says "My family has been here 34 generations , my granddaddy tilled the soil under the concrete of the building we’re standing in and you ain’t welcome here. "

And we all know people who think the folks that belong to Ashe County are 

just a little bit less than…

There IS some bitterness, and more than a little resentment.

But please try to understand the underlying grief for what has been lost.. 


Did yau know  Ashe County didn’t get “discovered” til the late 70s… and really not until the 90s… we were so isolated ! 


Developers from away, foreigners or furrners as they were commonly known in those days, bought up land, family farms, in some cases being underhanded and pretty nasty about it… searching the obituaries and threatening widows. Buying land for a pittance 

And as our property taxes went up, folks sold out of desperation too. 

Since our fiercely freedom loving folks refused land use planning… development was rampant and not always pretty. 


This began to create a bit of animosity, as you might imagine … and it hasn’t helped that the caricature of the mountain people was cemented in people's brains by shows like the Beverly Hillbillies, Deliverance,  Barney Google and Snuffy Smith in the Sunday funnies …  Even I have given up explaining to people that “paddle faster I hear banjos “ is NOT a compliment.  

Ann Rose told me 20 years ago that when people from here came to the Winston Salem hospitals , they were treated differently. 

So folks moving up from the flatlands thought we were all stupid and inbred. And didn’t hesitate to treat us as such. 

Just a couple years ago a dear friend said to me ‘ well, you know, there really wasn’t anything here til we started moving in ‘  

Whew law  

Maybe WJ wasn’t quite so pretty… and Jefferson didn't have four 4 lane highways.  

 We had community grocery stores,  and if you went to town there were a couple real grocery stores. We knew our neighbors and we took care of each other. 


There WAS so much here. 

Another “friend” of several years posted a caricature on Social media of a hillbilly… with the caption “this is where i live now”  

Trust comes hard sometimes. 

Occasionally folks like to have a token hillbilly to drag around.  I’ve fallen for that one a few times. 

 Anyway. Back to my tale. 

We romanticize the Virginia Creeper, forgetting that it was placed here to haul away our timber. 

And the pesticides. I grew  up in 80 acres of apple orchard, before people knew to wear masks. Before anything was banned.  My first pony died because she ate 2-4D out of the bucket when it was being put out for weed and grass control.

 Don't try to tell me people didn’t know what they were selling. 

We were cheap labor for all kinds of industry, then it went and we were even cheaper labor for the service industry and construction jobs that materialized. 

Now meth has replaced moonshine as the cash crop 

We traded revenuers for ATF and a multi million dollar militarized sheriff's department and privatized prisons. 

We are still the product. 

There's no money in acknowledging the disease of addiction. 

And the inbred hillbilly with no teeth stereotype self perpetuates  

Crime has increased with the influx of substance abuse,  and that brings more fear.

Opiates and the war on drugs have made us a commodity once again. 

Anyway … I hope that I have explained some of the grief that our Ashe county working families have experienced through the years. Maybe you can pass my story on? 

Maybe together this summer we can help people see that it’s time the people of Ashe County were prioritized instead of commodified. 

Could we please elect commissioners who care? 

Who don’t roll their eyes and make faces when people ask them to care?

Who bother to educate themselves about issues like:

Safe & affordable housing. 

Fair wages 

Substance misuse and addiction 

About fully funded public education, 

About accessible CHILD CARE !!! 

Who aren’t racists for pete's sake!!! 


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