Tougher Times Ahead in E. Ky?
As a lifelong resident of Powell County, I know firsthand what kind of people call Eastern Kentucky their home. Many of them are down-to-earth, friendly, and welcoming. Good-hearted people who would give you their last dime if they thought you needed it more than they did. The kind of people who would gladly take you in and provide you with warmth and a good meal to fill your stomach on a cold winter’s day. It is exactly their charitable and easygoing nature that makes the fact that they overwhelmingly voted for Donald Trump all the more gut-wrenching and incomprehensible.
Most of the folks in the mountains of Eastern Kentucky are coal miners or descendants of coal miners, or I should say they were coal miners before the industry came grinding to a virtual halt. Several of them suffer from black lung and fought to no avail for many years to receive benefits from the coal companies to whom they had given so much of themselves. They didn’t ask for a lot, a little help to pay for their medical treatment and a meager income so that they and their families could survive.
Finally, a modicum of relief came in the form of the Affordable Care Act, which mandated a presumption of total disability for any miner who had worked at least 15 years in the mining industry and who suffered from black lung or any other totally disabling respiratory impairment. It also provided automatic entitlement for eligible survivors of miners who had themselves received benefits.
In stepped Kentucky’s Obama-hating politicians who took full advantage of that knowledge and bombarded them with deceitful and continuous propaganda convincing them that ObamaCare was a terrible, horrible thing.
As a result, Eastern Kentuckians were especially fooled by the outright lies propagated by our president-elect during his campaign. Given their situation, it isn’t hard to understand why they would be so gullible. They probably would have voted for Donald Duck if he had promised them the resurrection of the industry that provided them with the only kind of work they know how to do.
Unfortunately, with each passing day that brings to light another outrageous and dangerous move made by Donald Trump, it’s becoming more and more apparent that an animated fictional character actually might have been the better Donald for the job. Some of us have known that all along.
In a recent CNN report in which several Eastern Kentuckians were interviewed regarding their struggles and their decision to vote for Trump, they revealed that they are now worried they may come to regret that decision. Unfortunately, the damage has been done. They will now be forced to live with the consequences of their ill-advised choice. It remains to be seen just what kind of life that will be. If Donald Trump actually keeps his promise to annihilate the Affordable Care Act, I fear the future will be dire indeed for the folks of Eastern Kentucky.