The “Year of Babydog”
It was a sight to behold when Babydog, West Virginia’s first dog, was escorted down the red carpet of the West Virginia House of Delegates to join his owner, Gov. Jim Justice at the podium during the State of State. I read that Democrats were aghast and some had said that “that dog” should not set (paw) inside those hallowed halls of the Legislature. But, Justice does not flinch when it comes to his Babydog and as he turned Babydog’s rear to the camera and told Bette Midler and other West Virginia detractors that Babydog said “kiss my hinie” some of us chuckled while other more sensitive residents flinched. The Governor was, they said, making a mockery of West Virginia.
I don’t think so. The Governor was responding to our detractors as many West Virginians would. In a down to earth way that conveys our disdain to those who would portray us as a joke…or a mindless group of drug addled hillbillies. While I disagree with the Governor on many, many things, I have come to have a grudging respect for his love of West Virginia….and his dog. I share that love and while I can’t define it, I know it when I see it. We are quick to respond when faced with an outsider who would malign our beloved state and its people and our response is sometimes a little over the edge.
I’ve read there was even a rucus over Babydog entering the House Chamber as some members said it was an affront to House decorum to have among them. Hmmm. Decorum wasn’t exactly being observed when fellow delegates brought their homemade “shine” to the final night of the session. No-one was worried about decorum when a sea of white styrofoam cups appeared on the desk of delegates as they cast their votes, some not knowing what the heck they were voting on. We all heard the stories of the delegate had to be locked in the Speaker’s office as we concluded our final business on camera. I well remember the year anti gambling advocates tried to stop a bill from being put up for votes by clanging Weirton Steel cans on their desks chanting “gambling, gambling no no.” Some even climbed onto their chairs. The West Virginia Legislature at its worst is not pretty, but at its best it can be pretty darn impressive. It is in fact, the worst of us and the best of us.
Babydog has been with us through the tough pandemic times, has attended press briefings and hit the road to hand out checks for getting vaccinated. I have no problem with her joining us for the State of the State.
It’s time to move on to more important matters.