Colony comparison not such a bad thing
A colony. The idea suggested recently by Denise Giardina in response to a column by Froma Harrop in the Gazette is worthy of serious consideration.
While Harrop's comparison of West Virginians to a cult might intrigue or even invite attraction by some of the Appalachian -- not just West Virginia -- culture, with its fierce devotion to tradition; its unnerving pride; and its at times cautious engagement to embrace change, it is precisely those characteristics that paradoxically support the notion of a stalwart colony.
While a cult generally centers its focus on small groups, eliminating the importance of the individual, West Virginians by contrast fiercely embrace individuality to the point that it becomes paramount to all else. Perhaps that is where Harrop missed a beat. The notion that our fierce individuality might border on obsessive could be seen as cultish, and that just might not be a bad thing.
Colonists' very separation from but subjection to a political system that exploits hits West Virginians head-on. And yet, without a fierce devotion to tradition, an unnerving pride, and a cautious engagement to embrace change our continual ability to persevere would be compromised. And that in itself is worth contemplation and imitation.
Early colonists strove to keep their families together, practiced their own religion, believed in self-reliance, and practically invented the strong work ethic dogma. They worked the land, and their loyalty to themselves, their community, and their religion was unsurpassed. Politically, they held firm to the belief that they had the right to govern themselves. With all of this said, Giardina's suggestion that West Virginia is a colony and its citizens colonists, the question begs to be asked, "Indeed, why would anyone want to leave?"
A colony? Certainly. Thankfully. Pridefully.
Kathleen M. Jacobs
Policy discussion needs perspective
I did a search on the internet last month to find out the exact number of surface coal mines in West Virginia that practiced mountain top removal. Furthermore, I tried to find the exact number of mountaintops that had been destroyed by this practice and was not successful with either.
In order to get some perspective, I also endeavored to find how many millions of acres of mountains, hills and valleys had been destroyed by the massive modern roadway and bridge system in our state, and again I wasn't very successful. I inquired as to how many rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds were disturbed and or permanently destroyed by our modern road system, and could find nothing. I inquired as to how many wildlife habitats were disturbed and or permanently destroyed by all this progress, and got nowhere. After a while, I just gave up.
Still, I wondered how much pollution had been created and spewed into our environment by the chemicals, the blasting and the big machines that moved the earth so we may travel more freely in our autos upon this troubled star called earth. My point is, when it comes to discussing/making environmental policy, perspective and balance seems to be sorely lacking.
Maybe we human "parasites" should just eliminate the mining and chemical industries altogether and go back to living in the Stone Age
Von Albert EhmanCharleston