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February 26, 2019 · OPINION

A reminder of why this place remains special

By Ted Greener
Warrenton

Washington Examiner opinion editor and American Enterprise Institute fellow Tim Carney recently published an insightful expose on the American dream and the state of domestic politics that residents of Fauquier County should read.

As reviewer Robert VerBruggen notes in his analysis of Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, Mr. Carney eloquently highlights “the decline of strong communities with dense social ties, and in particular the decline of organized religion.” The former point especially – that communities with active social groups and organizations – should resonate for Fauquier residents, especially for those in the Town of Warrenton. Our tight-knit community makes us unique in this region, as we have many “third places,” coffee shops, pubs and community centers where people can interact with neighbors outside of home and work.

We should also take the latter point to heart – that churches help form the strongest bonds while inculcating morality and decency – as we enter the Lenten season. Perhaps by recommitting ourselves to these institutions and the community in general, we may not only improve facets of the town and county, but the outlook for some of its residents who may feel alienated.

Reading the book (in truth, listening) and reflecting on my own path here made clear subconscious thoughts that so many locally can probably relate to, even if their story is starkly different.

My wife Elizabeth and I moved to Warrenton in 2016 from Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C., as we expected our first child. We had previously searched for housing in D.C., Arlington and Falls Church, even Manassas, only to be priced out. When the search turned to even farther suburbs, Elizabeth surprisingly said, “Why don’t we just move to Warrenton and be near family, where we can enjoy walkability, community and a more affordable life.”

At the time, her comment meant little, and in the time since, I have found it difficult – even embarrassing at times – to explain to D.C. elites why we made this big move and why I willingly take on the admitted challenges of commuting. I would relay truths – being near family is key, a lower cost of living enables us to enjoy more things and save for school – and I would even lament to my conservative friends that I feel passionately about removing my kids from the bubble of privilege found in closer-in suburbs, as well as the radical secularism taught in their public schools. I'd even say that I love the fact that our family gets to attend mass at the church Elizabeth and I were married in.

This is all true.

But as Mr. Carney’s book makes clear, it is the deep sense of community, where neighbors care about each other, that really explains the allure of a home where we must not feel alienated. It is food brought by friends when babies are born or gifts when sadness hits. It is hanging out at Molly’s or time in any number of our parks. And it is knowing the names of those who we see on the street or at the grocery.

Let us be thankful for this reality that we all sometimes take for granted, and recognize those who help make it special, especially local policymakers like Mayor Carter Nevill or Councilman Sean Polster, as well as state officials like Del. Michael Webert and Sen. Jill Vogel. It is their commitment to public duty and sensible policies pertaining to land use, growth and taxes that undergird so much of what we value.

A Town of Warrenton resident, the writer is the public affairs executive director for a national trade association. He has nearly a decade of experience in advocacy efforts related to federal, state and local public policy.
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Cammie Rodgers · March 6, 2019 at 9:17 am
Silii - I agree, I don't care why Mr. Greener and family moved to Fauquier County either. He and his family will learn soon enough about the "welcome" mat being a bit one sided. The "the radical secularism taught in their public schools" statement is rather an odd comment to make about our public schools. What he is inferring??

Del. Webert has been a disappointment, but didn't expect much from him anyway.
Silii · March 4, 2019 at 7:42 am
Quite honestly, I don't care why Mr. Greener and his family moved to Warrenton. I do care, however, that Del. Michael Webert did not support the Equal Rights Amendment in spite of 81% of Virginians suppporting the amendment; that he did not support simple gun safety laws such as requiring guns in private child care facilities to be locked up especially in the aftermath of a horrible tragedy of just such a shooting death of a toddler by another youngster in a private child care arrangement; that he doesn't care about distracted driving to the extent of opposing use of handheld devices while driving; and.,has never once expressed a cogent vision for the future of VA 18th or Virginia.
sshrader · February 27, 2019 at 4:39 pm
I am not very clear :(
I agree with Tony, Warrenton is not always such a great community for all residents. For Corinne, or anyone, to say that he should move or that he is unwanted in the community because she disagrees with him is wrong. I just did not mean to imply that she is yelling at neighbors or any of that stuff...
Mark House · February 27, 2019 at 4:04 pm
sshrader- If Ms. Thomas doesn't hold those views then why did she put them on Facebook? Sounds like you are backtracking on calling her out.

Very few true communities have existed for some time, people are very transient, stay perhaps 14 years, then move on to either a different community or state, many for economic reasons, others for location of grown children, and still others to get away from the growth in their current area.

The point of the article, I think, was that we all need to get along, then Mr. Greener threw in the curve ball about "the radical secularism taught in their public schools.". He lost my support right there.
sshrader · February 27, 2019 at 9:44 am
To be clear, I was not implying that Corinne holds those views but that we are surrounded by them, that the idea of "community" is very limited and exclusive to many people in this area. In an opinion piece that highlights supposed morality and decency, it is indecent to not really analyze what is happening around us that actually prevents true, healthy communities.
Tony Bentley · February 27, 2019 at 9:37 am
Corinne Vilar Thomas-

"Tony,
Route 66 East or Route 29 North will take you to an environment that will be a better fit for your beliefs. Our community will not miss you."

Doesn't sound like they would miss you either, Ms. Thomas!!
sshrader · February 27, 2019 at 9:19 am
Corinne! Not a public response that I would have imagined from you. The very attitude that does nothing to help community nor show "morality and decency". We know each other and live in the same nieghborhood, the very neighborhood in which some think that others shouldn't use the medians near us, the neighborhood that (sometimes) yells at each other when we disagree, the neighborhood that does not want "outsiders" on the property..... What sense of "community" and "decency" do we really want?
Tony Bentley · February 27, 2019 at 8:39 am
Again, I agree with nonewtaxes. What's going on here????
nonewtaxes · February 26, 2019 at 10:52 pm
Relgion? Thats almost as bad as government. Religion only asks for money. Government takes it under duress. Ofcourse the government can only take your house an wages. Religion can damn you for all eternity, if you believe in that sort of thing.
Tony Bentley · February 26, 2019 at 7:52 pm
My name is MR. Bentley to you Corinne Vilar Thomas with your multiple names. There you go proving that this community is about segregation. Any one that isn't one with your "beliefs" should leave. Hell no, I'm staying just to piss you off!
Tony Bentley · February 26, 2019 at 12:00 pm
Mr. Greener, The grass isn't always on this side of the fence. Have you meet some of the longtime, entrenched "horse" people? Not everyone is a "Christian", and if you haven't meet the good ole boys and girls yet, well check out the history of segregation and lynching in this 'wonderful' community.

Deep sense of "community" only pertains if you have the "right" color of money or skin in many of the communities in Fauquier County. Stay true to your false radical secularism idealism avoidance and trade it for racism.
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