By now, the news has made the rounds that congressional candidate Wayne Powell and bluegrass icon Dr. Ralph Stanley are joining forces for a barnstorm of Virginia’s 7th District. The retired colonel and the living legend will make their way from town to town, the latter making his case on a banjo while the former makes his case to the people.
But why a barnstorm?
The answer is simple, really. The barnstorm is an American tradition. A relic of a bygone era when being a politician in the south meant standing on the back of a truck, sleeves rolled up, vowing to fight on behalf of all the farmers and mill workers before you. Back when you had to rely on the intelligence and trust of the people to win, not on billionaire donors half-way across the country.
In short, barnstorms and similar events were a way to demand action from your representative. It kept them honest, it kept them open, and it kept them coming back.
Now try to imagine Eric Cantor, with his immaculate hair and stunningly tailored suits, standing on the back of a truck beneath the summer sun, roaring for economic fairness and social justice.
If you can’t imagine that scenario, join the club.
The fact is, Eric Cantor isn’t a man of the people. Sure, he pays lip-service to his constituents during debates and while pontificating from the podium, but as the old saying goes, “Actions speak louder than words.”
And boy, are his actions loud. In the past seven months alone, Mr. Cantor has attended 34 separate fundraisers, none of which were located within the 7th District, and only one of which took place in Virginia. He hasn’t held a public event in his own district since March. And just yesterday, while we were preparing for the barnstorm tour, Eric Cantor was attending a $1,000 VIP champagne fundraiser in Florida.
Luckily, we have a candidate like Wayne Powell. A candidate who is willing to mount a stage, address a crowd, invite them to air their grievances and roar on their behalf, then hop into a car bound for another town with another crowd of disaffected voters hungry for change and do it all over again.
And luckily we have a supporter like Dr. Ralph Stanley. With nearly 70 years of experience perfecting a genre of music birthed from rural American culture, Dr. Stanley knows a thing or two about what it means to speak to, and advocate for, the people. His endorsement speaks volumes.
So why are we holding a barnstorm, you ask? Because Eric Cantor never could.
And it’s high time someone did.
Tour times and locations:
Tuesday, Oct. 23:
Gordonsville, Virginia, 7PM
17452 Lovers Lane
Wednesday, Oct. 24:
Ashland, Virginia, 8:30AM
Ashland Coffee & Tea Company
100 North Railroad Avenue
Culpeper, Virginia, 12PM
109 Commerce Street
Mineral, Virginia, 2PM
E. 5th Street
Goochland, Virginia, 4PM
White Hawk Music Cafe
1940 Sandy Hook Road
Glen Allen, 7PM
Glen Allen Cultural Arts Center
2880 Mountain Road