Sometimes major problems have simple solutions. Most of the output of SOAR (Same Old Archaic Reasoning), all of the lengthy articles sent to the paper by our mountain seers, and all speeches given to chambers of commerce or leadership conferences by politicians have been the same old rah-rah, "we can all work together" vagueness.
The closest thing anybody has gotten to the specific has been to cut down our trees and, instead of shipping away lumber, adding value to our wood right here, sawing out duck shapes.
But now we have come up with a solution to the problems of both coal country and inner cities, and that is the manufacturing of tents.
We just kept watching television until we realized that now, more people in the world live in tents than do not. Fleeing and moving into tents is the new world hobby.
Somalis are fleeing, Libyans are fleeing, Syrians are fleeing. Israel is turning the homes of its neighbors into rubble, and all over the world weaker tribes are being chased into refugee camps by the powerful.
Most of the population of California will soon have to move back to Oklahoma and Arkansas to get a drink of water and avoid dust, and they will have to have tents to live in. Californians will soon be overloading their old Mercedes cars with their designer furniture and flowing into places where there is still water.
Climate change is real in all places except states having Republican primaries. In Kentucky all Republican candidates deny climate change, but the good thing about that is, they are all lying.
So, in the next generation the world will need hundreds of thousands of those white tents. We can make them right here in the mountains. We have the wood to prop them up with and only need tons and tons of cotton to weave into the fabric. That is the genius of this idea.
All those people stuck in inner city ghettos in Baltimore and Detroit can migrate back south and get jobs picking cotton. All the cotton states are "right to work," so their jobs are assured. There will be no United Textile Workers of America. Furthermore, the minimum wage is safely low in the south, so entry-level workers who start out on the bottom and kind of like it there can stay poor if they want to.
Black people who return to the South are assured of the right to vote, if they have the proper papers and do not look like any other black person, and if any of them have not been convicted of a felony.
In the South, black people can be arrested without probable cause, which should make those who came South feel right at home. Lynching is now frowned upon, except after a fair trial in Texas.
Maybe we could fire our looms with coal power, but I guess that wouldn't make much sense as long as gas is cheaper and cleaner.
We are tenting tonight on the old coal fields.
Reach Larry Webster, a Pikeville attorney, at email@example.com.