I grew up on bacon, sausage and pork chops. We raised hogs. We butchered at least one a year. There is nothing like a big skillet of fried bacon and sausage in the morning with hot biscuits, scrambled eggs and gravy.
Unfortunately this lifestyle of sumptuous dining has its health risks over the long haul. I essentially gave up these breakfast choices several years ago. I can certainly remember those good old days of mommy’s cooking and fine dining.
Pork tastes good but the long term impact on our arteries will eventually kill us. An old fellow who lived over in the next “holler” from us ate mostly pork and died at a young age. Right before he passed away his wife thought his last word uttered was oink.
The last death rattling gasps of many Kentuckians have been heard in recent months. Unemployment benefits, food stamps, free meals and more have been cut by Congress. This couldn’t happen at a worse time for the mountains. These cuts coupled with zero jobs to be found spells economic disaster for the region.
For years Congressman Hal Rogers, backed with government dollars and labeled “Prince of Pork” has kept the bacon rolling into east Kentucky. Today, there simply isn’t enough government bacon to alleviate the financial distress.
During the previous years all seemed well and good. Depend on coal and the government will help in hard times. For years this formula worked okay. It doesn’t work anymore.
Rogers and Mitch McConnell should have spent the last 20 years helping east Kentucky diversify. I’m not patting any Democrats on the back either. None of them have really cared about the future of the mountains. McConnell could gain a position of prominence in the Senate that ought to be helpful to Kentuckians, if he will.
Central Kentucky and southern Indiana have both been economically revolutionized with Toyota plants. Bowling Green has a Corvette plant. Chattanooga is rolling Volkswagens off the assembly line. It is reprehensible that East, Kentucky has little to nothing to show for all the billions of dollars that have poured out of our mountains and the literal raping of our land.
The cries of “Coal is all we have,” are sad. Coal is all we have because all anyone wanted to see was the present. We cared nothing about the future. Government pork has been a temporary meal that only fattened us for the kill.
The future is here. The last sound we are hearing as people have to pack up and leave or starve is oink.
Glenn Mollette is an American columnist and author from Martin County. Contact him at GMollette@aol.com. Like his facebook page at www.facebook.com/glennmollette.