Yet again, West Virginia has made the national news for the wrong reasons. Newly elected Delegate Derrick Evans recorded himself, surrounded by others, storming into the United States Capitol on Wednesday afternoon. Evans posted this footage to his social media pages, only to delete it and release a statement claiming that he was “an independent member of the media (there) to film history.” This type of behavior may seem outrageous, but Evans is simply seeking the same type of attention that got him elected.
Evans’ antics have garnered a sizable following on Facebook. His relevance began by harassing people outside of a Women’s Health Center in Charleston. In 2019, an unkempt Evans antagonized a group of citizens protesting across the street from Stewart’s Hot Dogs. He used this attention, combined with an unwavering support for Donald Trump, to run a successful House of Delegates campaign.
Evans is presumably intelligent enough to realize that it is far easier to peddle conspiracy theories on Facebook than to come up with substantive policy proposals. Focusing on local issues and trying to improve the community around you is difficult, tiring, and at times, thankless work. Sharing a video of yourself breaking into the Capitol building provides instant gratification in the form of likes, shares and comments. Either he does not possess the foresight to appreciate the consequences that may follow, or he is so deluded with entitlement that he cannot fathom being held accountable for his actions. Evans’ desperation for social media engagement will likely be his undoing.
At what point do we, as West Virginians, demand more from our elected officials?