I don't know what to think about the story that Diane Sawyer did tonight. It's the same stories that I saw when I was a kid. It makes me mad. It makes me sad. It makes me feel helpless.
Years ago there was fighting and terror and meanness and people left to have another life. They left to have any life. But there is this draw back to the mountains. They would retire there. They would talk about it like it was heaven. The badness was forgotten.
Now it's not fighting and meanness, it's drugs. Did you know you can make more money in an hour selling drugs in eastern Kentucky than you can in Chicago, New York or any big city in America? Prescription drugs mostly.
When I stay in Letcher county now I get warned to lock the car, not leave anything out and to park under the light near the house because "they" will steal whatever they can see and even your gas. This was a place where we didn't use to lock doors.
It has always been a hard place to live. Rocky, hilly, steep. No roads, no industry.
I used to love to read the Mountain Eagle. Mostly I wanted to read Mabel Kiser's column and see who she mentioned. I remember sitting on the swing with my cousin Kris reading her column out loud with columns titled "Mary Craft Paints her Kitchen Yellow". It was innocent. It was a look at family and church and who was doing what.
One day I read an article about how the tax money from southeast Kentucky was going to Jefferson County schools where it would be put to better use. Translation: it was a waste to educate those hillbillies. I never looked at that paper the same. Not to say that the Mountain Eagle wasn't speaking against it, but that anyone in power in the State of Kentucky would ever have that mentality.
Have you driven on the Daniel Boone Parkway lately? Guess not. It was renamed for a sitting congressman. What Kentuckian would put his name in replacement of Daniel Boone? I had a conversation with some cousins who said his plan was to take down the mountains --- I mean physically level them, put a lot of land under water and basically rework the whole of East Kentucky. I googled and searched and tried everything I could to find anything about the plans I was told. Supposedly they were common knowledge. Why put a man in office like that? Why keep a man in office like that?
I get so frustrated.