But as President Obama reminds us, Congress won't act unless we demand it. Unfortunately, I have not found that encouraging my representative, Republican Shelley Capito, to support balanced tax and spending legislation made any difference. She voted against the tax increase on the wealthiest Americans and has voted with the Republican majority 91 percent of the time, the same percentage as Paul Ryan, chosen by Mitt Romney as his running mate, to satisfy the right wing of his right wing party.
Another consequence of the election was the deepening of West Virginia's shade of red. West Virginians have overwhelmingly rejected Mr. Obama in two elections.
Once a bastion of union supported Democrats, West Virginia voters re-elected Republicans Shelley Capito and David McKinley (who voted 87 percent with Republicans) to the House, deposed consumer protection giant Daryl McGraw in favor of a Republican lobbyist, and nearly gave Republicans a majority in the state House of Delegates.
With Jay Rockefeller's retirement announcement and Joe Manchin's propensity for making news by speaking out against the president's proposals, hope for a better day in West Virginia politics is waning. I fear we will have to experience something like Wisconsinites, Ohioans, and Michiganders have at the hands of Republicans before voters here realize that, given the chance, Republicans will stomp on the rights of working people and protect corporations that despoil the environment and ignore health and safety of workers and communities.
All politics is local, community organizers say. It's time to organize in West Virginia and warn our fellow citizens of the dangers we face from Republicans while pointing out the improvements Democrats are making in peoples' lives. We need to support the Democrats who remain and unseat the Republicans before they have a chance to take root. Elections are important.
Epstein is a retired teacher, musician and writer.