On Nov. 11, Mitch McConnell said it’s “hard to tell” if ending the “war on coal” will bring back jobs. With the GOP’s sweeps, McConnell’s bluff is called. McConnell and Rand Paul have lied through their teeth about the very existence of their fantasy war much less bringing coal back. It’s embarrassing to me, a native of East Kentucky and former coal miner, that anyone would believe them. Now, Paul and McConnell (and Donald Trump) have the ball — show us what ya got, boys.
Coal has always been boom and bust. This current bust is terminal, brought about by technology and abundant oil and natural gas. Mechanization decimated coal mining employment decades ago. Check out “Appalachian Christmas,” a CBS report by Charles Kuralt in 1965. A store owner in Letcher County bemoans the area’s poverty and tells Kuralt that coal jobs were disappearing because of mechanization. I worked coal augers, two or three men using a machine and pulling more coal out of the earth than 50 miners did only a decade before.
It’s very sad and a shame that my fellow Eastern Kentuckians found Paul’s and McConnell’s lies sweeter than the truth — and then voted for those same liars.