February 17, 2014

With the old breed

The title of this post comes from a great World War II memoir by Eugene Sledge, who told his story of horrific battles in the Pacific Theater of that war, which was where my father and two uncles served. It came to mind today when I met a veteran of a different kind of struggle, although he was probably a military veteran as well.

The occasion was a small community forum on ending child poverty in a coal mining community in southern West Virginia. I was privileged to meet and talk briefly with one of the Old Breed of West Virginia coal miners, union men (they were mostly men) who know what it means not only to work hard in a dangerous calling but to stand together in solidarity and fight back against corporate greed.

In these sad days, when union membership has declined and CEOs pose as protectors of the workers (like weasels claiming to  protect chickens), such voices are hard to find and are all too seldom heard. I was glad to hear it again. I can't say how much I've missed hearing it. If only such voices were as common today as in the past...

Fittingly, the meeting took place near Cabin Creek, the site of a major episode in the WV mine wars of 100 years ago.

THERE'S STILL HOPE for more prosecutions in the wake of the 2010 Upper Big Branch mine disaster. May the goddess Nemesis be swift to render that which is due. And if she isn't swift, may she at least be sure.

A POSITIVE TREND. I mentioned in yesterday's post the WV is getting smarter about how it approaches criminal justice and prison issues. Here's an item that shows similar progress in dealing with school discipline problems.

ONE MORE THING. The Future Fund cleared another hurdle in the state senate. Now it heads to the floor. I want this one bad.


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