Thursday, November 20, 2008

Prejudice Against Appalachians or Overweight People? The Nanny State's War Against David Felinton

It's not often that we here at the Potomac Highlands Conservative stand up for a Democrat, but Huntington Mayor David Felinton has taken an undeserved beating lately.

Felinton has been mayor of Huntington for over seven years. He ran fresh out of college and defeated the incumbent Jean Dean. Over the past seven years Felinton has managed to attract business to what was once the dead core of a fading city. Huntington has tried to use the federal funds steered by Senator Byrd to not only help Marshall University, but also revitalize the center of the city. During revenue shortages he repeatedly refused a pay raise offered to him by the City Council. In an era where we see CEOs laying off thousands while accepting bonuses of millions, that is refreshing.

Felinton's tenure has not been perfect, recently he offended citizens by allowing park bridges to be painted pink. However he has tried to do the best job possible with one of West Virginia's most troubled large cities. Like or dislike him, he does not deserve the trashing handed out to him by the media this week.

Someone, somewhere dubbed Huntington, West Virginia the most overweight city. With great places to eat like Jim's Spaghetti House that might be understandable. The national media picked it up because a rat in the media named Mike Strobbe decided to make an issue not only of Huntington, but also of Mayor Felinton. Felinton is a bigger than average guy and the writer decided to affix the description "obese" to his name. Another outlet remarked that the area also scored poorly in dental health.

Honestly, are we not supposed to be living in a new age where stereotypes and prejudices are left behind? Why is it STILL acceptable for liberal media outlets like MSNBC to ridicule Appalachia? Beyond that, Huntington is much like the rest of the region. People in Appalachia are far less judgmental about physical size than other places. That should be a positive instead of a slam. Also people are free by the grace of God to eat as much as they want and exercise as little as they see fit. The Nanny State lovers needs to butt out of the City of Huntington and out of the physique of its mayor.

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