Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Miners are screwed

A friend of mine sent me an article about a rally planned next week of coal miners and their friends. It sounds like it will be quite something, people lined up for miles. From the description the event sounds like a prayer vigil or a kind of witnessing. It seems to have nothing to do with politics but is an almost desperate reaching out hoping to save their jobs and their way of life. My friend thought I might like to go. I find it so immensely sad that I would not want to be there. The fact is that the richest, thickest seams of coal are gone and the price of natural gas is brutally low and in all likelihood the coal industry in Appalachia is in the beginning of long, steady decline. Ken Ward in the Charleston Gazette has been writing about this for years in one impeccably researched story after another. But nobody listened. Not one politician has had the profile in courage to stand up and to talk about the need for a different kind of economy. Of course, it's not the politicians sitting in Washington who will be hurt. Nor will the top coal executives who don't even live in coal country. It's the average person who will suffer. Nothing's going to save this dying world, not speeches, not prayers, not exhortations. The people of coal country have been duped for years. I'm sorry but that's the way it is.

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