CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Dear Patrick Morrisey:
Welcome to our state. West Virginians are always glad to greet newcomers, and many of our most productive citizens are those who have come from other states and fallen in love with our mountains and our people.
But I should point out that the newcomers who have been most successful are those who have a genuine interest in getting to know our history and our customs. And you have, perhaps inadvertently, sent out a signal that you do not yet "get" this. I refer, of course, to your War on Trinkets.
You made the War on Trinkets a centerpiece of your successful campaign for attorney general. And now, you plan to culminate your victory with an act of Trinket Destruction. "I think this is going to be a made-for-TV event," you proclaim.
Perhaps as a newcomer you are not aware of the significance of trinketry in West Virginia's political history. Generations of politicians wielded trinkets. Trinkets have been most beloved by senior citizens and schoolchildren.
Imagine yourself at age 70, writing to the secretary of state. You're having a problem with your well water, which seems to be going blinky. You don't know if secretaries of state help with those sorts of problems. But you see the secretary on TV a good bit, and he seems nice enough. So you write. You don't really expect an answer, but behold, here comes a letter. It tells you whom you should call about your problem. And it contains an ink pen with the secretary's name on it. You display the pen proudly, pleased that someone cares.
Imagine yourself a fifth-grader on your first field trip to the big city of Charleston, and having a pin shaped like West Virginia stuck on your shirt by the governor himself. You never forget that. And then, there's the ultimate schoolchild trinket award: the Golden Horseshoe. Oh, if you don't know what that is, Mr. Morrisey, you'd better Google it. Maybe you should study for the test yourself.