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WRCousCous99 karma

This is very important, and thank you. It is hard for some people to understand, but past experience can make us uniquely useful to others. For myself, it's the only way some of my life experiences can be dealt with: they are now helpful to other people from similar backgrounds.

WRCousCous77 karma

This is one of the many reasons I think weakening labor laws and undercutting the UMWA has done more damage to the coal miners than environmental and safety regulations. My grandfather was permanently disabled in a mine accident in the 1970s, and although the union didn't prevent the accident, they certainly made sure he was able to live the rest of his life with dignity and medical care.

WRCousCous57 karma

You know, that last bit is an excellent metaphor for this particular problem. If you don't mind, I'm going to steal that phrase (about the trees and deforestation) and use it in my ecology course next year.

WRCousCous33 karma

So what do you do now, and has the attack affected your life decisions as an adult?

WRCousCous25 karma

Myeh, the weird thing is when workers buy into owner-backed positions: unions are bad; regulations are bad; safety-nets are bad. It is not coincidental that GOP and coal-mine owner positions are well-aligned. The shocking thing is that the average miner or resident of a coal-mining county in S. Appalachia today buys into the policies benefitting multinationals and wealthy owners and pushed by the GOP.

My grandfather was borderline illiterate (started working on a tipple before he was 12), but he was a strident UMWA organizer, a member of the American Socialist Party, and terribly well educated on issues from healthcare to representative democracy. Incidentally, he also didn't want any of his children or grandchildren working in a mine. Spent his entire adult working life in the ground, and he pushed us hard to go to school. He told me before he died that his happiest day was when I became a doctor (he came to my graduation ceremony from grad school), even though he had no idea what the difference in a PhD and a MD was. He was convinced that: a) I wouldn't be working in the mines; and b) I'd be helping sick people.