CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- Throughout history, self-serving politicians have grossly distorted the truth to create straw men, as "enemies of the people," to promote themselves. Examples are Sen. Joe McCarthy who proclaimed that the government was infiltrated with communist agents and Gov. George Wallace and his war against "pointy headed bureaucrats" in Washington.
European dictators of the 20th century used the same techniques to promote fear of communists, Jews and even capitalists. Most had motives centered on self-promotion, to the detriment of truth and the public interest. And in far too many cases they have been effective, for a period of time.
Sadly, we in West Virginia are being subjected to the same propaganda techniques used in this sorry part of political history. Our junior U.S. Senator and his friends in the coal industry, with their massive advertising campaigns, have created their own straw men, their own "enemies of the people." And those enemies are none other than the president of the United States and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency. These are the two villains that must be conquered! And the savior is the junior senator: "I'll slay the dragons boys, just keep the ammunition coming (checks only)."
West Virginians should examine the truth. The EPA was created by Congress at the behest of Republican President Richard Nixon in 1972. The goal of the act, the "Clean Water Act," was to restore the integrity of the "waters of the United States." The effort was later expanded to include the "Clean Air Act," to restore air quality and combat air pollution.
The results have been truly amazing. Today, West Virginia enjoys high-quality water resources suitable for industrial development and a broad range of recreation. During the 1970's and 80's, the EPA invested hundreds of millions of dollars in sewage-treatment facilities in West Virginia in the interest of public health and the environment. With a few local exceptions, our air and water resources meet most national standards.
Which brings us to the election in November. In my considerable years observing presidential elections, I cannot recall a candidate or an elected president enduring the vicious diatribe that this president has endured: "a Muslim," "not an American," "socialist" and a profusion of racially descriptive terms and outright lies. Having inherited two wars, the Bush depression and a Republican party dedicated only to his defeat, he has persevered with a happy heart and has accomplished much.
Our junior senator, whose party affiliation is called into question, has repeatedly joined the opposition to thwart the president and the goals of the Democratic Party. The junior senator says that he is a Democrat and will always be. A close look at his political history proves otherwise. The people of West Virginia should seriously reflect on the result of a Republican victory in November and attainment of the Republican Party's goals:
1. Destruction of Social Security (a goal that the Bush administration failed to accomplish).
2. End of Medicare, placing seniors at the mercy of private insurance companies.
3. Rollback of regulations for the environment and public health and safety.