Welcome to "The Gods Are Bored," Appalachian in the heart and soul since the grand days of President Eisenhower! Mountains store the planet's magic deep within. We should be very mindful of that.
While on vacation, I had the rare opportunity to read the Washington Post. I don't read newspapers online, so if I'm not in the D.C. metro area, I don't do the Post.
There was an article in Sunday's Post, "Miners Boycott Tenn. over Alexander's Bill."
Senators Lamar Alexander (R-TN) and Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD) have jointly sponsored the Alexander-Cardin Appalachian Restoration Act, a bill that would hamper, if not shut down, the despicable practice of mountaintop removal mining.
For my readers from the Russian steppes, "mountaintop removal mining" is exactly what it sounds like: Giant bulldozers and dump trucks shear away whole mountains from the top down until they reach a seam of coal. They scoop up the coal and haul it away to power your dishwasher. What's left behind is buried streams, a flat wasteland indifferently sowed with foreign grass seed, and runoff pollution in existing streams and watersheds.
Big Coal loves mountaintop removal. Some miners love it too. They would be the ones who operate the bulldozers and dump trucks. Take away mountaintop removal, you take away jobs.
With that in mind, Big Coal and its mountaintop miners have organized a boycott of Tennessee's grand tourist attractions like Dollywood and (one presumes) Graceland. It appears that West Virginia and Kentucky miners love Dollywood and the Smoky Mountains.
Senator Alexander has expressed concern that much-needed tourist revenue may be yanked from his state.
What's to be done, then?
If you live near Tennessee, go for a visit. If you have discretionary money, spend it there.
If you live near Maryland, go for a visit. If you have discretionary money, spend it there.
If you do not live near either state, do a Google and try to find products that you can buy that are made in those states.
I also encourage you to send a snail-mail letter to the two distinguished senators sponsoring this bill. It's interesting to note that one is a Republican and the other a Democrat.
Senator Lamar Alexander
Washington, DC 20510
Senator Benjamin L. Cardin
509 Hart Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510
Big Coal is a juggernaut every bit as powerful as Big Pharma. Okay, maybe we won't win. But let's peck away at this problem, first by writing inspirational notes to the sponsors of the Alexander-Cardin Appalachian Restoration Act, and second by spending money in Tennessee and Maryland.
There's nothing better than steamed hard shell Maryland crabs, but they're probably tough to pack and ship. So you could start here: at this site for Maryland stuff.
As for Tennessee, I myself draw the line at visiting Dollywood, so I'll be in your corner if you buy a bottle (or two) of Jack Daniels and a box (or two) of Little Debbie Snack Cakes.
Please pass these sentiments on to your friends and readers.