These are the words of a “white trash hillbilly from the holler.”
He and his compatriots are not looting. They are not vandalizing. They simply know the score. Their coal jobs are gone. They were unhealthy occupations when they had them. They need a living wage and they know they aren’t going to get it from the incoming administration without a fight.
They are realists. Pragmatists. Even without an education Nic Smith is thinking critically about the promises made and the outlook for his future.
You don’t have to have a college or university degree to see what’s plain in front of your face.
The last time I bought a pair of blue jeans was about a year and half ago. They came from…*gasp*…Target. They are made by a company that is a staple in the denim industry, Levi Strauss. They used to be a symbol of Made In America.
When I look at the tag it says they were made in Bangladesh. Or possibly Brazil. I’m not sure which because both locations are on the label. They were not made in America.
They might have even been made in a sweatshop by a seven year old who was paid ten cents.
I don’t know.
What I do know is the manufacturing of Levi’s jeans isn’t coming back to America.
Manufacturing and mining as we knew it fifty years ago isn’t coming back to America.
People need a living wage and everyone can’t be a white-collar worker.
We are going to have to be innovative and creative.
Clean energy would be a great avenue to explore but the incoming administration seems loathe to explore that. They jettison climate change and EPA regulations in favor of “clean” coal, whatever that is, and fossil fuels.
Welcome to 1950. Except it’s nearly 2017.
I would say that I feel discouraged. Except I don’t.
I know that there are enough of us, the us that wants positive change – not just change at any cost – to come up with new and better ways to sustain ourselves.
The government is not the United States of America. The people are. People like Nic Smith give me hope.
We don’t need to cut and run. We need to dig in and fight.