January 23, 2014

The groveling plague

When someone first sent me this column, titled "Is West Virginia a Cult?" I groaned. On reflection, though, the writer had a point or two.

I mean, how messed up is it when people brag about how much abuse they are able to take from their ruling class?

Or when the state's leading politician, Senator Joe Manchin, brags about West Virginians being willing and able to do the "heavy lifting"? (Translation: getting shafted by rich corporations and saying, "Thank you sir! May I have another?")

The writer kind of nailed it here:

"The hard-luck people of Appalachia deserve their reputation for physical courage and a strong work ethic. But they suffer more from servility than bad luck. Outsiders wince when the  natives angrily declare their independent spirit and then cringe before corporate polluters, however tawdry."

Actually, polluting isn't even half of the story. Let's not forget killing workers on the job, either by fast or slow methods and getting away with it.

The sad part is that I remember a time when West Virginians weren't as good at groveling before their masters as they are today. I'd like to think that this boot-licking phase will pass. I guess we'll see.

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