He sees fellowship and communication as keys to healing political divide 

Published 5:40 pm Friday, March 18, 2022

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Suffolk’s own Drew Varner has some ideas about healing America’s political divide.

“Go out to pubs, go to church, go to dinner and really get to know the people you’re surrounded by,” said Varner, a Suffolk Ruritan member who has penned a paper on the topic for an upcoming Liberty University conference.

Driven by his own family, including his 1-year-old son, Varner hopes to be a good example of fellowship and community.

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A master’s student at Liberty, he will present his paper at the conference titled A Nation Divided? Assessing Freedom and the Rule of Law in a Post-2020 World, which will be held by the Helm’s School of Government and “Journal of Statesmanship & Public Policy” March 24-26.

The conference will focus on the cultural, social and political impacts of 2020 that linger and the “mutually important goals of freedom and the rule of law that continue to be redefined and threatened.”

The following categories will be highlighted: Legal & Regulatory Issues, Upholding Liberty and Justice and Foreign Policy & International Issues.

Varner’s paper, titled “Fellowship is Essential to a Flourishing Community,” focuses on the way people connect in society and the importance of communication in different communities.

“The whole basis of how I felt after COVID and the way the nation is divided right now comes down to the total lack of communication and lack of understanding among just our neighbors and your everyday citizens who you encounter at work and have friendships with,” he said in a recent interview. “I just felt like that was the root of everything. The problem is the lack of communication at the grassroots level.”

Varner said communication and the idea of “help your neighbor” are part of the foundation America was built on, so he hopes to bring attention to that in today’s divided world.

Varner is an active member of Ruritan’s Main Street chapter. He’s working to demonstrate to his family and friends what needs to be done as a community to fellowship and get back to talking to one another.

“I am on this journey that God has put me on to go back to school and focus on policy at the grassroots level to realize that we are all in this together in this country,” he said.

Varner is currently a Territory Sales Manager at Superior Equipment Sales in Chesapeake and is in his first year of pursuing a Master of Arts degree in public policy. His paper will be published in the “Journal of Statesmanship & Public Policy” and be presented on the first day of the conference.