Ah, schadenfreude — enjoyment obtained from the troubles of others — how do I love? let me count the ways.
What say you now, residents of the Appalachian coal fields, to the reports that it is none other than that ardent defender of King Coal, Sen. Mitch McConnell, who is preventing funds from being used to prop up your pensions abandoned by, you guessed it, King Coal? Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton proposed that a billion dollars be set aside to assist out of work miners, but she made the error of saying lots of coal miners are going to lose their jobs. Never mind that the phrase was taken out of context and economic forces are closing the mines.
Ah, schadenfreude. Now that the pensions are closing out medical care promised in the miners’ contracts, where will health care come from? Will it be from the stripped-down system Gov. Matt Bevin is creating? Will the substitute be generous to the economically depressed? Will it cover pre-existing conditions as the Affordable Care Act required?
All of you denizens of remote areas will likely be able to get a voucher for the best school for your children even if it is in Lexington or Louisville.
No matter that charter schools will deprive public schools of funding. You’ll be doing your part by giving a superior education to those fortunate ones while your own children limp along without textbooks or technology.
Ah, schadenfreude. Voters so anxious to “drain the swamp” and rid Washington, D.C., of the professional political class can look forward to one of the most politicized administrations in memory. The news is that Elaine Chao, wife of our vaunted McConnell, is nominated to head Transportation. Dare we suppose it is a move to keep the majority leader in check, beholden to a Trump administration? Each department is being headed by someone who comes with an agenda so disruptive that chaos is sure to follow. How will you respond when your favorite federal program comes under attack?
Ah, schadenfreude. Those who have been so angry at the vultures on Wall Street will be able to be found sated when the regulations put in place to protect those who have a mortgage and wish to buy a new vehicle are stripped of their teeth and it’s back to business as usual.
Ah, schadenfreude. Not to forget you blue collar workers who have been treated so badly when those manufacturing jobs return stateside. How great will it be when those factories once again are pushing product but the hiring signs are still not up because the job you used to do is done by a robot who will work harder, longer, cheaper and never sleep or goes on vacation or have babies? But you still have your union to protect you. Oh, never mind. You don’t.
Last but certainly not least are the politicians who allowed this beast to feed at the trough of resentment. The beast is now the master, and you must either cower before it or join those who have been swept along by the tide. When you write your book you can proclaim your ingeniousness that was displayed when you neglected the nation’s business to advance your political fortunes.
There will be little pleasure taken from this exercise in self-destruction. The impact of the things we are now compelled to face will not be limited to those who chose it but will also fall on those who did not. Such is the nature of democracy.
Robert F. Moore of Science Hill is a mechanical contractor and columnist for the Kentucky Commonwealth-Journal.