There are many times I have been writing a post and stopped mid-thought to reflect on purpose and place. The majority of what I have stated on this blog and in public address is nothing original. My thoughts are simply reiterations precipitated from decades of struggle. Perhaps the only thing new is the time in which I speak them.
I have often been told how important my words are, especially since they are coming from a former coal miner. This is indicative of the socioeconomic change that has swept through Central Appalachian in the past quarter century. Unions have fallen, materialism has risen, and markets have shifted, creating a vacuum of human rights in Appalachia that displays an acceptance of the status-quo.”If you can’t beat em, might as well join em.”
There was a time in which the vast majority of coal miners understood the need to resist; there was a time when my thoughts and outspokenness would have blended in with the voices of thousands of other coal miners. Today, there are only a handful of us and we are seen as the enemy among our peers.
So when I post these blogs, when I’m published and am shown as having a unique voice, I feel the slice of a double edged sword—one that reminds me of all that we have lost in Appalachia, not merely in terms of landscape, but in our culture as Appalachians.