Christian Trejbal, an editorial writer for The Roanoke Times (where I worked for as a reporter and photographer from 1965-69) says recent election returns shape how people view our region and, unfortunately, showcases how too many people here feel.

Writes Trejbal:

Voters’ choices do more than just pick Election Day winners. They shape how the rest of the world views a region.

Friends from across the continent called and e-mailed me Tuesday night and into Wednesday. The conversations mostly went something like this:

“Where the hell do you live?”

I don’t know.

“Allen’s winning” or, on Wednesday, “Allen carried your region and might win.”

I know.

“After ‘macaca’ and ‘nigger.'”

I know.

“The noose and the assault.”

I know.

“And you approved that gay marriage ban that screws over all unmarried people.”

I know!

“Where the hell do you live?”

Those election-night chats reflected an unfortunate but justified perception of Southwest Virginia.

Voters in our region heavily backed Allen and a hateful gay marriage ban that spites their single neighbors and children just to prevent the state from recognizing the unions of loving same-sex couples.

Sadly, what Trejbal writes is true. George Allen, whose comments defined his racist views, carried Southwestern Virginia easily, even though he eventually lost the election, thanks to those “damned liberals” in Northern Virginia. We should thank Northern Virginia for saving us from ourselves.

Northern Virginia, however, could not save the Commonwealth from the stupidty that is the marriage amendment, a homophobic piece of legislative crap that set progress in Virginia back about two centuries.

We can thank the religious zealots who railed against the amendment from the many pulpits for stirring up public fear and feeding the ignorance that passed the amendment. It adds to the perception is a back-woods Bible-belt collection of rednecks.

Trejbal’s commentary, published in last weekend’s Times, was entitled “Southwest Virginia is for haters.”

If you accept the results of the election, he is right.