My friend Ken Ward over at Coal Tattoo has some words of wisdom on this election day. He notes that while lots of politicians rattle on about the so-called "war on coal,"
The list of things that coalfield candidates don’t want to talk seriously about is long and important: Mine disasters, black lung disease, global climate change, the environmental and human health costs of mountaintop removal, and — probably most significantly — what Southern West Virginia and Eastern Kentucky will do for jobs and an economy as the region’s coal production continues to decline.In particular, candidates from both parties have tended to vie with one another on who can bash Obama the most. Ward blames the media as much as the campaigns for going along with oversimplified soundbites.
He nails it with his conclusion:
Because elections do matter. And regardless of who controls the U.S. Senate or the W.Va. House, coalfield residents will wake up on Wednesday facing the same set of serious challenges: Natural gas will still be cheap. The best coal reserves in Central Appalachia will still be mined out. Carbon dioxide in our planet’s atmosphere will still be climbing to levels we should all be afraid of. The coal-mining jobs that are left will will be too dangerous, putting workers at risk of dying suddenly in a roof fall or slowly from black lung.
When all the votes are counted, our region will still face too much drug abuse and too little education, too much pollution and not nearly enough quality health care, too many WARN notices and too few jobs — too much fear and far, far too little hope. And mostly all the election will have done with its endless television ads, sound bites and attacks is the one thing that coalfield residents can least afford: Torn us further apart, instead of bringing us closer together.The whole piece is worth a look and has tons of links.