By T.L. HEADLEY
Communications Director, Citizens for Coal
In 1961, then Massachusetts Senator John Kennedy and Democrat nominee for President visited the coalfields of West Virginia. He visited the coal towns, the company stores on Island Creek and met with thousands of coal miners. He showed clearly that he cared about coal country. Kennedy won West Virginia that year and with it won the presidency. He was tragically killed two years later, assassinated in Dallas, Texas.
In 1961, the Democrat Party represented the working-class people of America, the coal miners, steel workers, auto workers, the farmers and others. It shared our values. But somewhere along the line between then and now, the Democrat Party lost its way. It abandoned working-class Americans and traditional American values and chose to push an increasingly radical agenda. What was the voice of the American people has today become the voice of socialism, of radical environmentalism, of anti-industrialism, of killing babies and the violent political of division that has turned our city streets into lawless war zones.
For the past 60 years, we have watched as the Democrats pushed companies overseas with their increasingly heavy taxes and regulatory strangulation.
First, they went after steel and we lost our steel manufacturing to Japan and China. Then they pushed our auto industry into bankruptcy and decay. One after another they drove businesses off to other countries. Then, in 2009, with the election of the Obama/Biden regime, they came after coal. Regulation after regulation was passed, making it more and more difficult to mine, transport and use coal. The result was easy to see – companies driven into bankruptcy, coal mines closing and tens of thousands of layoffs. These coal mining families were forced to leave a lifetime’s possessions to foreclosure and repossession to find jobs somewhere else. Schools closed and communities died, given over to an epidemic of drugs and alcohol – a slow spiral of death.
Eight years of Obama/Biden nearly killed the nation’s coal industry. The Democrat Party of John Kennedy was dead. To Obama, Biden and Hillary Clinton, those Kennedy Democrats were now “deplorables.”
Then in 2016, the choice was stark and clear – between continuing down that course to the death of our coal industry and the hope for a new start – between Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump. Trump promised to help our industry – to help our coalfield communities by bringing those businesses back to the United States and stabilizing our coal industry. Clinton, the Democrat, said proudly that “she was going to put a lot of coal miners out of business.”
Trump, the Republican, won West Virginia, Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Ohio and other formerly Democratic states in what Democrats called “The Rust Belt.”
Trump made good on his promises to us in America’s “Rust Belt.” He brought investment back to the United States with lower taxes and he moved swiftly to end the radicalized regulatory agencies’ reign of terror. The result was the fastest growing economy and lowest unemployment rate in 50 years. Our auto, steel and manufacturing industries began to grow again. Coal employment stabilized and we actually started to see some of those laid off return to work. Only a worldwide pandemic was able to slow our economy.
Now, it is 2020 and the choice is between continuing the policies of the Trump Administration and getting our nation back on track, or a return to the destructive policies of Obama/Biden combined with radical socialism of the modern “Democrat” Party.
For America’s coal miners, coal communities and the rest of the “Rust Belt” – all of us “Deplorables” — there is no choice. We MUST re-elect President Trump if we are to stand any chance at all of holding on to our way of life.
I was born and raised in the coalfields of West Virginia. I have a college degree and could have gone anywhere else in the world and probably made a lot more money, but I chose to stay here because it is my home. I am proud to be a West Virginian and proud to be the product of two generations of a coal mining family. I am proud of the contribution the coal industry has made to this country and proud of our coal miners.
My father was a Kennedy Democrat and he would be ashamed of what the modern Democrat Party has become.
An eternal flame was placed on President Kennedy’s grave in Arlington National Cemetery. It was meant to symbolize his eternal love for this country. It seems today’s Democratic Party is intent on snuffing out that flame.
Editor’s Note: T.L. Headley is a professional educator in West Virginia. He holds an MBA from West Virginia University, a master’s degree in education from Marshall University and a master’s degree in public relations from Marshall. He is also an energy expert with more than 20 years of experience in the coal industry.