Friday, March 7, 2014

Owsley Kentucky

Yeah, so there is this place, a mostly white, christian, republican place, in the USA.  I mean literally all white, almost completely republican, and christian, and they are largely on SNAP, aka Welfare.

Now, some call that irony, some call it hypocrisy... Certainly if it was not so pathetically sad, it would be humorous.  I mean you would literally laugh as people run and trade their food stamps for smokes and cash, while they demand their political leaders cut their benefits. 

It is called the White Ghetto, and lets be honest, its not just Owsley Country in Kentucky, you find this trend throughout the south.  Even in places that are not a majority of one race or the other.  People seem to fall in line with voting against their better interests.  And really, its kind of twisted to think about it. 

But a bit of history here.  Coal was king there, and well the king is dead.  Unable to adapt, like so many places where Coal was king, the economy dropped, I mean think of throwing a brick out of a U2 airplane.  So, what happened?  As the jobs in coal went away, the other jobs started going away because the money was gone.  As kids grew up, managed to get an education, they went away, because lets face it, money makes the world go round.  As the best and brightest started moving away, even more jobs went away.  After the cycle hit over drive, all that was left were the disabled, the drunks, the lazy, and the drug users.  At this point, nobody wants to step foot into the community because there are no good employees left, as they all left for greener grass. 

Without doing the research, I can almost tell you that this place has a church on every street corner, its like here.  As things went to hell, in a very real sense, people turned to God.  When they turned to God in this environment, they became radicalized, and which party is radicalized in its beliefs?  Yup you probably guessed it.  So at this point, you have a bunch of people who are rabid in their religion, figuring the rapture or the seven seals are about to open, and all hell is going to break loose.

But in the mean time, the cycle hasn't broken, all the good jobs are slowly leaving, at which point the only good jobs are coal related (specifically mining the coal), which exacerbates the problem.  The body of a 30 year old who has spent ten years in a mine is actually the body of a 40 to 50 year old.  At 40, their body is that of a 60-70 year old, if they are still mining at 50, they are extremely lucky, or a tough SOB.  By 55-60 they are dead, or they really want to be dead.

So you have three choices, more or less.  The first is back breaking labor, that spends up your body like a junkie through cash money.  The second, go onto the government tit.  Three run like your hair is on fire, and Jason Voorhies is chasing you around with a cup of gasoline.  Personally, I would opt for number three.  Which is what the best and brightest do.  But here is the thing with the brain drain, these people do not come back.  Sure they might visit, but once they are out the door, they aren't likely to return, and if they do, its because they were forced into it.

It is sad in a way.  The people who remain, unable to escape often turn to booze and drugs to escape their mind numbing life. 

So, one thing I have come to learn about this area, and areas like it, they tend to side with the people who promise the most, and can point the finger often.  Republicans do that, as a matter of fact, Republicans and their little brother's the Libertarians say regulations kill jobs.  Turns out these people actually believe it.  As it stands the unemployment rate in Boonseville is around 150% of the national average.  Speaking of which, any Libertarians or Republicans want a hooker, its only 12.99 a night down that way.  Yes I am serious about the price, I am not serious about actually going there.  If you do, you are a sick freak, and I hope Chief Logsdon rips you a new one.

It is so bad there, that Kristof wrote "“This is painful for a liberal to admit, but conservatives have a point when they suggest that America’s safety net can sometimes entangle people in a soul-crushing dependency.”  That says it all right there, its painful for most liberals to admit, but I commented recently, as I have often that welfare is a trap.  But this is a worse trap.  A lack of education on what to do with the money they get, or more exactly the attempt to get more money from the money they get.  They use it to buy Pepsi, which they then trade for pills, which they trade for women, and then they are broke again.  Either that or they stop at the pills, and get high. 

Some think education is the answer, and maybe it is, but not here, not in this ghetto.  People get the education, they flee, if they aren't from old money, or mange to call in favors and get that job that makes them comfortable enough to remain.  And I don't know whats worse, the fact that I laughed when someone referred to Appalachia as the Wonder Bread Ghetto, or the fact that it seems to be fitting.  Its cheap, its mostly white, and it is empty of any kind of nutritional value (nothing to be learned here).