This is a serious hurt for West Virginia, politically and economically. And historically. Bush II, the president this state voted for twice, trumped up a reason to unleash the military forces against a weak nation with awesome power, destroying it buildings, its people and its culture and putting to death its leader. This nation's military killed thousands of Iraqis and lost thousands of its own troops. Today, daily the sectarian battle continues by the suicidal attacks of one sect against another.
And Bush II sent the military to Afghanistan. Where the death and destruction continued and still goes on. Further, he attempted to breach the Wall of separation of church and state, by subsidizing religions.
Then, this state had the honor of helping to elect a black president. It failed. History will long note this failure. It will long note that this state that was born by the action of Lincoln, who freed the blacks, and the state that sided with the North in the costly struggle of Civil War -- voted twice against a black presidential candidate with all the characteristics and credentials, and more, necessary to lead this nation. And instead it voted for a candidate that kept his fortune he acquired in this nation -- in the banks of a foreign nation.
I lived in Virginia from 1946 to 1968. I was there when Virginia applied the poll tax, when 15 percent of the electorate elected state officials, when its schools were a shame and the government was an oligarchy. I looked at West Virginia during those years with pride in contrast with Virginia. I moved back to my home state in 1968 and was happy to be back. Since then, to my sorrow, politics has changed in this state.
Now, this state is red and Virginia is, at least, purple. I am unhappy with the change, but I will have to live with it until labor and intellectuals unite again, if ever they resolve the mountaintop removal issue. I cannot, as one who is on the side of the intellectuals in the MTR controversy, side with labor, even though I cheered for labor when John L. Lewis led the miners to victory. One cannot weigh the merits of jobs versus mountains and decide in favor of jobs, which come and go. Mountains are forever. Of course, I can admit this. My job is not at risk.
Thus, if the price of maintaining the environment is living in a state that has forsaken its Democratic heritage and sided with the heritage of the Old South, I will endure it. But not for long, for my tenure here is about to expire.
Mann is a lawyer who lives in Hinton.