On a recent trip to the town that I grew up in, I looked over the latest political ads and listened to comments people made about the upcoming election. Aside from the expected vitriol, there is also the undercurrent that I heard a few times that those who are “anti-coal” cannot win in that town. Coal is not even an issue in this election—this is simply a presupposition held that prevents it from being an issue going into the political realm there.
I grew up in Western Kentucky; my grandfather and other relatives spent time in the mines and they hardly glamorized or praised it—it was simply what you did to put food on the table, it was a job waiting for folks in that part of the country when they came home from the war. Sometime less than 10 years ago, mining came back in a big way to that part of the state. I don’t recall too many of the guys from my older siblings generation (about 10 years older than me) being in the coal business, but I would estimate that more than half of the males I graduated high school with who remained in the county went into the mines.
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