Not Just a Game

by Zachary A. Horn

I am a native of Kentucky, and today my state swore in as governor a tea party darling who has vowed to wage war on my home. I know several gay and lesbian men and women serving in state government, who wept the night Matt Bevin was elected. They wept for their state, and for their own safety and livelihoods. I also know many environmentalists, myself included, who are heartbroken by the appointment of a coal executive to the Energy and Environment cabinet. We fear for the land, water, and air; we fear for humanity’s survival and the future of this state and the world outside of it. As a native of eastern Kentucky, I am also mournful. My heart goes out to those who barely get by, and will likely lose access to healthcare and other meager social services keeping them from the brink of the abyss. I also hurt for the miners in eastern Kentucky, who have been sold false tales of a war on coal, as the coal seams that fed my family for generations reach exhaustion, and gas prices make coal mining a losing proposition. They have been sold a false narrative, and will not get the assistance and retraining they need for a post coal economy. They will continue living in a fantasy-land of yesteryear, as jobs continue to diminish and they grow ever more poor and unprepared for a changing economy.

I know it isn’t polite to pretend politics is anything other than a game, where political offices are points on the board. But for the thousands of lives negatively affected by this election, I cannot treat this like a game. This was a triumph of fear, hate, and ignorance over decency and reason, so today I mourn for my old Kentucky home, and for those who must now live with the consequences.

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