Often, the Gazette’s lead editorial wonders why West Virginians, a plurality not only being registered Democrats, but also dominating the poor to middle economic class, vote for Republicans whose actions for the past hundred years have proven them to be “public servants” only of the very rich, exploitative and hard-hearted?
An op-ed in the July 25 Gazette by Bob Kincaid answers that question succinctly. As a leader in the Appalachian Communities Health Emergency Campaign and Coal River Mountain Watch, one would imagine, considering Shelley Moore Capito’s and the Republican Party’s long history of vitriolic opposition to environmental and coal-related health legislation, that he would be preaching Democratic unity and urging all people of conscience to get out and vote a straight ticket.
But no! He says he is not going to vote for Democratic senatorial candidate Natalie Tennant because she has not “acknowledged the mere existence of ... scientific papers indicating a serious health problem in the mountaintop removal zone ... .”
Earlier in his piece, he enumerates several of the heartless atrocities Capito has committed against working West Virginians while in Congress. But then says he will not vote for Natalie unless she acknowledges the obvious — that coal mining areas are rife with poor people whose health suffers because they are victims of the pollution that has always gushed from that industry.
Scientific studies? Hell, I could have told him those results back in the 1930s when meningitis due to poor coal camp sanitation left two in my family vegetative. Or in 1953 when my father was laid off from the Pocahontas Fuel (now Consol) mine at Jenkinjones, a victim of mechanization. He spent the next six years gasping and coughing up stuff you don’t want to read about, then died. That was in a time when there was no SSI nor Black Lung benefits. But as a result of legislation by Democrats in the 1960s, for which NOT ONE Republican voted, my older brother, a World War II vet who worked at that same mine and was laid off the same day, and who later developed the same problems, was able to live out his shortened life decently with adequate food, clothing and shelter. Capito’s father, convicted felon Arch Moore, then a congressman, opposed it all. Like father, like daughter. She said in an interview once that she did not benefit from her father’s money-grubbing crimes. Yeah, right. Just like Mafia leaders’ and drug lords’ children eat and dress badly and work their way through college.
Hey, Gazette editors! Have you ever seen someone who is without a nose? I have never met Mr. Kincaid. Maybe he still has his, at least until Nov. 4. Then, if he keeps his word, he’ll join all those others who became irrationally angry when faced with an otherwise superb candidate who did not gush about their one particular pet issue, so cut off their own noses to “punish them.”
You’ll find hordes of “no nose democrats” around our state who should have known better but were played for suckers by Republicans’ lying scare tactics over abortion, school prayer, gun rights, socialism, health insurance, taxes, fear of coal-related job loss, etc. — always as election day nears. Then, even when in the congressional majority, the two-faced Republican scoundrels say and do nothing until the next election, because they need those overblown divisive “issues” to get the saps to reelect them.
It makes one want to grab the “no nose democrats” by the lapels, shake them and query, “What the hell were you thinking?” But that would serve no purpose. They weren’t thinking. They were just reacting with passion over some rabble-rousing single issue that, all said and done, has ZERO effect on their lives.
If Mr. Kincaid truly wants action on environmental and coal-related health issues, instead of cutting off his nose, he should thumb it at Capito and the Green and Mountain parties and urge unity behind Natalie because Democrats fight for those things and she is a realistic but underdog candidate up against BIGGG money interests.
Shunning her will only make our health, safety and the environment deteriorate further.
Cook is an author, artist and inventor who lives in Hurricane. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.