What to do?

9/8/2017, 12:24 a.m.

Our media colleagues should stop their mewling over the absence of Democratic candidates Ralph S. Northam, Justin Fairfax and Mark Herring from the annual Labor Day parade in Buena Vista.

Yes, these candidates for governor, lieutenant governor and attorney general, respectively, understood the parade is a political tradition in the Commonwealth, with candidates from both major political parties turning out to stump and glad-hand in the western part of the state.

And, yes, the trio attended a breakfast earlier Monday in Buena Vista, a rally on Sunday in Harrisonburg, a game day event at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville on Saturday and an Eid prayer meeting with the McLean Islamic Center at a Tyson’s Corner hotel on Friday.

Let’s face facts: Buena Vista, a city of 6,300 people, with a 94 percent white population, shouldn’t consider itself the center of the political universe in a diverse state like Virginia, with a population of 8.4 million, 30 percent of whom are people of color. 

So we have no issue with the Democratic ticket heading out of Rockbridge County after the breakfast meet-and-greet and flying to Newport News for Congressman Bobby Scott’s 41st annual Labor Day Cookout — also a political tradition, but in the eastern part of the state.

At the cookout, the ticket was joined by U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine, Randi Weingarten, national president of the American Federation of Teachers, and a host of other candidates for various offices where they energized a crowd of several hundred, including a cadre of party faithful and volunteers.

They talked about the critical issues facing Virginia and the nation — funding for public education, health care for the uninsured, job creation, protecting undocumented Dreamers and equal justice. They talked about how turnout at the ballot box on Tuesday, Nov. 7, will make a clear difference in Virginia’s leadership for the next four years.

The multiracial crowd in Eastern Virginia — part of the state’s highly populous “golden crescent” stretching from Northern Virginia through Richmond to Hampton Roads — understands that turnout is key. It’s what made Virginia a blue state in November 2016, supporting Democrat Hillary Clinton for president rather than backing the shameful, regressive policies of Republican candidate Donald Trump.

And like the candidates, the crowd at Congressman Scott’s picnic understands turnout will be key 60 days from now in Virginia’s gubernatorial election. We can either keep trying to move Virginia forward, or we can turn back the clock.

We know where we stand. 

What would you have Virginia do?