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Old 03-04-2019, 07:15 AM
 
432 posts, read 242,821 times
Reputation: 231

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It just stupefies me that there is no plan here.

The topography, the workforce, the schools etc... these are all huge issues that prevent most companies from looking at WV and the Charleston area.

And it’s like the folks running the show thought coal and chemicals would just always be here and nothing about them would ever change.
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Old 03-04-2019, 03:16 PM
 
683 posts, read 415,962 times
Reputation: 309
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnNada View Post
It just stupefies me that there is no plan here.

The topography, the workforce, the schools etc... these are all huge issues that prevent most companies from looking at WV and the Charleston area.

And it’s like the folks running the show thought coal and chemicals would just always be here and nothing about them would ever change.


I am not sure it that simple John. West Virginia has been a broken state since long before it became a state. Before the Europeans came here, American Indian tribes did not live in the region that is now West Virginia. They did find it vital for burial, ceremonial purposes such as spirit quests and the proving of a man's worth as he transitioned from boy to adult. It has always been a hard land, hard to get into and even rougher to move through. Once inside it is hard to leave, because it changes the way those that find their way here and how they look at the world and themselves.

Once the Europeans came to America, none settled here that had a better choice. Only those that were outcast of the day, Italians, Irish, Hessians and those with nothing else of worth to those colonial centers along the coast came here. West Virginia developed a strong under current of Celtic traditions. Listen to West Virginia's brand of music and you will hear echoes of Ireland.


Then West Virginia was just western Virginia and the land and the people were exploited by their betters in Richmond, Culpepper and Tidewater. This set the foundation for what was to come. The power brokers did not live in West Virginia but owned its riches and its people; taking both away when they could. The local West Virginia government was often a body of transplants that could not wait to go back to civilization once they had made their fortune.


Even once Pierpont formed a state, the mentality was there, which is why Wheeling was the first capital. It was as close to not being in West Virginia as was possible. Both Pittsburgh and Cleveland were near-by and that city served as a gateway to siphon the best of West Virginia without getting to mired in actually being in West Virginia. Wheeling still does not see itself as really a part of West Virginia and if you visit there, it certainly feels more like Pittsburgh than it does with any other part of the state.


Before coal, there was salt and even a bit of oil. but, like in the colonial times, these two resources set the foundation for the way coal and the later chemical industry would be established. Each brought in the dregs of society from places like North Carolina and Virginia to work and often die in harsh conditions, with little notice or thought for the individual these industries used like disposable people. Most were buried in mass in unmarked graves and few there are that even know their tales.


The rail lines came and the river boats lost sway and with those trains came the need for coal. More dregs were brought in to mine coal, company towns were erected and whole families were plunged into abject slavery to the coal barons. It lasted from after the Civil War until about 1910, when the unions brought some relief to the suffering, but before long they became what they first stood against and once more the unionized worker had a new master.


This lasted until WW II, when the need for vast quantities of chemicals were demanded by the allies. Coal now had a peer in the chemical worker, but he like his coal brother was unionized and his soul, his family his future was owned by a company that sat well-outside the bounds of the state. That company did not see him, did not see West Virginia, except as a stockpile to be converted from raw material to profit. In their pursuit to produce the latter the ground down the workers, the state and its people to make sure that margin was as great as possible. Their enablers were those we residents elected from among ourselves to office.

Instead of seeking our redress, they sought, more often than not, to further their own rewards, having been elevated to a height of prominence. The people of West Virginia had no champion except those that took on that mantel and wore it in charade.

It eventually became easier and more cost production to move the chemical industry to Texas in the 1970's, when the cost of fuel bloomed and made transport an heavy cost factor. Coal could be bought easier from Wyoming or from foreign producers because the liberal trend in the nation demonized all coal. West Virginia lost its only cards on the table.

Those politicians we elected were getting old and had become very rich and their replacements were carpetbaggers like Rockefeller, or his home grown protégé, Manchin.

While it is easy to say we made no plans for what came after coal or chemicals, but the truth is, we did not make the plans those industries. The people of West Virginia have never had the power to do anything. We have been exploited until the exploitation became to costly.

Even now, it is very difficult to tear down most of the buildings in the Charleston CBD because they owned and managed by out of state trusts, tied to families, often empty of living members to sign off on the documents to end that ownership. Many parts of West Virginia are still owned by those living and mostly dead that never came here, never appreciated and probably never knew part of the holdings were in West Virginia.


It does not have to be that way, but for now it is. We elected Jim Justice as governor and before him were a string of those just like him. Our current elected officials are mostly the same, with those few worthy individuals far too out numbered to make a difference or raise their voice. We have elected a mayor that sees her current office as a resume item. But who was the choice? A man that was part of the old way of thinking, he just wanted to better himself, not the city.


The people that lack vision in West Virginia are the people of West Virginia. We have no one to blame but ourselves.
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Old 03-05-2019, 06:43 AM
 
432 posts, read 242,821 times
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Caden,

That’s the best summation about WV that I’ve ever read.
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Old 03-05-2019, 10:18 AM
 
Location: Arlington, VA
1,329 posts, read 3,407,200 times
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Agree- Excellent post Caden!
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Old 03-05-2019, 03:44 PM
 
683 posts, read 415,962 times
Reputation: 309
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnNada View Post
Caden,

That’s the best summation about WV that I’ve ever read.
Quote:
Originally Posted by NOVAmtneer82 View Post
Agree- Excellent post Caden!

Thank you both but I wish every word I said was untrue. As I have traveled the nation and the world, I have always been able to pick out those West Virginians when I came face-to-face with them. It is something in their stance, that far-off look in their eyes, maybe it is because a part of the heart is far, far away. But we smile and we nod and mention a few points of our shared little world that is a secret from all others. We recount our fondness and a happiness that is shaded with grief of longing to return to a place that makes us feel - different - whole - in our own earth - among our own trees. We hear voice echoes of those now past through the hills and see the distant past in the dark still waters of countless rivers.


We share that one thing we all have in common, that feeling that comes upon us as we drive into the state or begin our descent in a plane. You feel first around the edges of your body, like an unseen ant crawling on your skin. It soon covers you totally, until you feel it sink into your body and then you realize your heart is beating odd, not fast, just deeper, with meaning as though it is drawing from a source of life we have been sheltered from for far too long. You then part company with this wandering West Virginian and you look back to glimpse one more look at someone who knows the magic and find then looking back at you for the same.


I do not know what it is about this place that stirs our souls. Makes us so hardy, so tied to this land. You would think such a quality so universally felt in West Virginians would have brought about a chorus of justice to solve the many problems of our state, but all we do is go to the service or die in the ground; fighting for a nation that snickers up their sleeve or those that get rich while we die of black lung.


But for all of your hurts that have been done to us, I would make the bargain any day. What we have here cannot be bottled, packed in wrapping or sent by electronics. It is the heart, the soul and the love of a place, that regardless of how it is treated, seems to love us back.


Perhaps it is my Cherokee heritage but the land here is not dead; the trees whisper, the ground moans and signs when I walk barefoot in the rich earth and the waters murmur with song, just beyond normal hearing, drawing me closer. The night comes and purple moves through the trees as a not quit darkness falls. The deep woods glow just beneath the canopy and the cool air drains out of the woods and into the glens and rivers.


I love this land.
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Old Today, 05:28 AM
 
Location: Martinsburg, West Virginia
1,053 posts, read 1,737,498 times
Reputation: 371
Quote:
Originally Posted by Caden Grace View Post
Thank you both but I wish every word I said was untrue. As I have traveled the nation and the world, I have always been able to pick out those West Virginians when I came face-to-face with them. It is something in their stance, that far-off look in their eyes, maybe it is because a part of the heart is far, far away. But we smile and we nod and mention a few points of our shared little world that is a secret from all others. We recount our fondness and a happiness that is shaded with grief of longing to return to a place that makes us feel - different - whole - in our own earth - among our own trees. We hear voice echoes of those now past through the hills and see the distant past in the dark still waters of countless rivers.


We share that one thing we all have in common, that feeling that comes upon us as we drive into the state or begin our descent in a plane. You feel first around the edges of your body, like an unseen ant crawling on your skin. It soon covers you totally, until you feel it sink into your body and then you realize your heart is beating odd, not fast, just deeper, with meaning as though it is drawing from a source of life we have been sheltered from for far too long. You then part company with this wandering West Virginian and you look back to glimpse one more look at someone who knows the magic and find then looking back at you for the same.


I do not know what it is about this place that stirs our souls. Makes us so hardy, so tied to this land. You would think such a quality so universally felt in West Virginians would have brought about a chorus of justice to solve the many problems of our state, but all we do is go to the service or die in the ground; fighting for a nation that snickers up their sleeve or those that get rich while we die of black lung.


But for all of your hurts that have been done to us, I would make the bargain any day. What we have here cannot be bottled, packed in wrapping or sent by electronics. It is the heart, the soul and the love of a place, that regardless of how it is treated, seems to love us back.


Perhaps it is my Cherokee heritage but the land here is not dead; the trees whisper, the ground moans and signs when I walk barefoot in the rich earth and the waters murmur with song, just beyond normal hearing, drawing me closer. The night comes and purple moves through the trees as a not quit darkness falls. The deep woods glow just beneath the canopy and the cool air drains out of the woods and into the glens and rivers.


I love this land.
Wow. Beautiful and well said. I could print this out and frame it. So true.
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