Last night (20 May 2014), Senator Addison a/k/a/ “Mitch” McConnell delivered his victory speech after a grueling primary challenge that threatened his political future. In the course of that address, he delivered some of the most insulting comments ever directed to the people who have to live with the depredation, disease and death that the coal industry has, for more than a hundred years, poured out upon the long-suffering citizens of Appalachia.
Referring to his general election opponent, Allison Lundergan Grimes as “a guy,” McConnell proceeded to declare his undying allegiance to coal, if not the people who work and live near coal extraction sites. Ultimately, McConnell denied that coal has sickened and killed tens of thousands in the 100+ years the industry has tormented Appalachia. There’s no Black Lung in Mitch McConnell’s fantasy world; no slate falls, no cave-ins, no Upper Big Branch disaster, nothing. What’s more, there are no birth defects, no cancers, no heart disease afflicting people who live near Mountaintop Removal sites, despite the nearly two dozen scientific reports that say otherwise.
McConnell’s absolute divorce from reality must be seen and heard to be believed: http://www.c-span.org/video/?c4498801/sen-mitch-mcconnell-victory-speech
As I watched the speech last night, I could not help thinking about my grandfather, gasping for his last breath. Thousands of people in Appalachia have a memory similar to mine. McConnell apparently has no such memory; has never watched a man whose lungs have been ruined by coal drown on dry land; has never held the hand of a loved one as she breathes her last after breathing Mountaintop Removal poison for years; has never watched a newborn struggle for his first breath of life because his mama carried him to term in a place where the air is choked with Mountaintop Removal’s silica dust.
This, then, is why there is an A.C.H.E. Campaign: because McConnell and far too many like him have ignored the misery that the coal industry has foisted upon our communities and our families. We will work as long as there is life left in us to compel those in power to confront the sacrifices imposed upon unwilling American citizens. We work to end Mountaintop Removal before it can end any more lives, destroy any more families.
Will you join us in that effort? If you would, simply click the “Donate” button on this page and commit to a monthly contribution. It may be the best, most effective activism in which you’ve ever engaged.