The Register-Herald, Beckley, West Virginia

September 26, 2012

Our Readers Speak — Wednesday, Sept. 26, 2012


The black heart that keeps America beating

This is an open letter to coal lovers:

Your letters of recent months have sadly hurt me. For have I not given you warmth in winter; light to reflect by and to write your spiteful epistles of hate? Have I not given you heat, progress, joy, means for your cars to move until your heart’s content? Yet I — ever trustworthy coal — you now find gone to the devil.

I see you now blame me for pollution, killing plants and animals and even global warming. I won’t pay you so bad a compliment as to say it all came from your lavish lifestyle, your endless greed. No, I won’t say that (even though it was). It started like a slow fever and grew into a roaring inferno. Your Industrial Revolution, which has encircled Mother Earth and is choking her. First forest birds burnt for fuel and buildings, then farming and herding; eternal belching, eternal hunger to feed “me” into stoves, provide electricity, and countless by-products

Now I wish I could say I’m well again, which I would attribute to neither having medicine (surcease from our labors of digging and refining) nor doctor to speak of. In a few decades experts predict millions will run hither and thither due to flooding. Was God blamed for destroying the world once man had profaned it?

By all means keep my coal mines working and the factories burning. Oh, no doubt, letters will be forwarded both for and against yours truly, King Coal. But one can’t stop a train or plane or a nation due to what ignorant scientists are saying (after all, isn’t the earth still flat?). Breathing clean air and drinking pure water can not stack up against jobs, jobs, jobs. A few sick people, wrecked communities do not matter.

You tell me take care of myself, have a little faith in our politicians (they should know what side their bread is buttered on, if they seek re-election). I’m not being post humorous yet, if greed can help me. We’ll win this way yet. We’re all in this together. Luckily I remembered how most of you West Virginians love me. How so many politicians (Congressman Rahall, a governor or two senators, etc.) support me, have always said God, Guns and Coal in the same breath.

It’s funny though, you’ve given me an avocation and vocation and told me I’m the black heart that keeps America beating... for farm in animate plant/animal waste man said let there be “light” and there was. But I demand much for I am a jealous God.

Lonnie Bailey

Pineville