Editor’s Note: Painting the country purple

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Senate hopeful Tim Kaine gave a rousing introduction of Barack Obama during the President's campaign stop in Charlottesville last week. Photo: Sarah Cramer Senate hopeful Tim Kaine gave a rousing introduction of Barack Obama during the President's campaign stop in Charlottesville last week. Photo: Sarah Cramer

The heat finally broke. I watched the national weather radar on Saturday as a giant green-yellow-orange-red band of storms the size of the country swept from left to right at the front of a high pressure system, erasing months of sticky heat like an Etch A Sketch. On my run that morning, I stepped around acorns on the sidewalk, then watched a squirrel haul ass across the street, blinded by the impossibly sized walnut crammed in its jaws. The paths by the river are widening—the stinging weeds browning and curling back and the fall wildflowers springing up high and bright in their place. Welcome to the sweetest time of year, and please check out our fall festival guide  for some good ways to take advantage of it.

As I’m sure you’ve noticed from the double-tongued attack ads, election season will stay hot and muggy a while longer. If you read our paper online, you’ll know that we covered the Democratic National Convention through the eyes of our freelance cartoonist, Jen Sorensen. We also live-blogged President Obama’s visit, but failed to cover, as some have pointed out, the Tea Party rally in Lee Park. I don’t see the use in a local weekly paper weighing in on national issues much, but neither do I see the point in disguising the fact that ours is a progressive voice. We have a young editorial staff that, in most cases, aligns with the Democrats on the social issues: gay marriage, immigration, protecting the environment, health care, women’s reproductive rights. That won’t stop us from covering local decisions in a clear-eyed and information-focused manner.

In Charlotte, Tim Kaine called Virginia “purple,” and political pundits all over the country have named it a battleground state, a bellwether. The NoVA nation is mainly blue and entirely beholden to federal money, but Richmond is red and wants to give it back. Hampton/Norfolk is blue, for cultural reasons, but everything south and west of here is red in the same vein. We live in our own little layered microcosm: The city is the blue center to the county’s red ring, and both have a distinct orange glow. I don’t think either party has made much progress solving our fundamental economic problems, which have to do with the fact that my wife and I won’t do as well as our parents did. We have an urban/rural divide and a generation gap that people can’t see across. If it were up to me, I’d paint the whole place purple and put everyone in the same sandbox for one go ’round.—Giles Morris

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