American Journal – 2

For my wife and me, life began with little. We have received no participation trophies.

I come from deep in Southern West Virginia coal country. My Dad was a coal miner for most of his life. Before he was 50, thirty years of underground mining had broken him down physically. In those days, there was no mine work for a man his age. Forget age discrimination. In his time coal was dug, paid for, and sold by the ton. It was simple biology. A young man could dig it and load it faster. When my Dad was a miner, the job did not pay much. After the mines, he had to continue work to support his family so we migrated to the big city where he gave what remained of his physical health to a metal die-cast factory.

My wife’s beginning was even more humble. Born in a war torn country she knew about aggressive communism – Chinese and Soviet backed. In 1972, the first time I saw the family homestead there was no electricity. There was not even a drivable road. Sadly, the pampered generations of her home country are now as liberal as are our most liberal. And they have imminent danger at their door step.

Men like my Dad spent many hours underground bringing out an abundant energy source and keeping the lights on in America. These men who come from generations of miners are being tossed aside by utopian wind mill dreams, while other nations rely on this cheap and plentiful energy source to build strong industrial bases bound to equal or surpass our own. Maybe that is the aim of our utopians.

The miners came out from underground long enough to fight our nation’s wars. For my Dad, it was World War II. These are the men on whose backs a nation was built. Yes, communist utopians, they built it and with little help from you or your like who are in charge of tearing it down today. They were not seekers of handouts. Most would be ashamed to give up on providing for their families to accept welfare checks or today’s food stamps. Thanks for your service Dad and for being the sterling example of character that is missing in too many American homes these days – that is missing in too many Americans- that is totally lacking in Washington. May we transplant some of your spine and character into Washington’s career politicians.

My journey from the rugged green hills and valleys of West Virginia to the gray, dirty concrete canyons of Chicago was enlightening. I encountered my share of street punk greasers and pot smoking hippies. The first thought he was cool and offered the appearance of toughness. The second, hallucinogenic drugs aside, considered himself an enlightened intellectual. He read the communist manifesto, wore tee-shirts with the North Vietnam flag or Che on them and penned amateurish protest poems.

When I was 16 years old, I went to work full time in a Chicago factory. No one has provided for me since. A few days short of my 19th birthday, I escaped factory life and Chicago’s streets by enlisting in the Army. It was 1971. The draft not yet ended. Lottery numbers were drawn to see who would win a 2 year all expense paid vacation and the opportunity to visit foreign lands and meet exotic people who wanted to kill them. It was a lottery most hoped to not win. When my numbers came up, I was already in basic combat training at Fort Ord, California. – (Continued)

© 2012