Front Porch Blog

Coal Industry to hold “Friends of America” Rally

And you’re probably not invited.

On September 7th, a bunch of celebrities are throwing a party with Massey Energy to wrap themselves in the flag and put on a big event called the “Friends of America Rally.” The featured guests are Ted Nugent from Detroit, Sean Hannity from New York City, Hank Williams Jr. from Shreveport, LA, and a country singer named John Rich from west Texas, and they are coming to West Virginia to talk about how great and patriotic coal is (and I guess that means mountaintop removal to.)

I wanted to write a post about how ridiculous they all are and the ridiculous things they have all done and said. But, the truth is that all their quotes and actions are very well-documented. After reading more about these individuals and what they’ve accomplished, what they’ve been through, and what they’ve attempted to contribute to society in their own ways (and let me just say that Sean Hannity is on very thin ice here), I am fine to say that we just aren’t going to agree on most things. People can disagree without being disagreeable. We aren’t going to see eye to eye on most things that have to do with coal, energy, economic development, or the way that the government interacts with ecosystems and communities. And thats cool. We can disagree. This is America.

And thats the point.

Has the political conversation weakened so much in this country that those of us working tirelessly to raise our families and protect our homes are somehow not “Friends of America” because we believe in protecting our drinking water from coal waste? Are we not American because we believe that science shows us we have to take action on climate change? Do we sympathize with terrorists if we don’t support one candidate or the other? Mountaintop removal is SUPER AMERICAN and Lamar Alexander is not? C’mon, stop living in a cartoon!

America is much more than just the way we choose to grow our economy or the way we choose to treat coal waste. Whatever Ted Nugent has to say on the 7th, let him say it. Our forefathers created a place where free speech is allowed. However, criticisms of Ted Nugent aside, can’t he please stop acting like anybody who disagrees with him is somehow less than a “Friend of America”? If we’re not a “Friend of America” what are we? Just an acquaintance? Are we an enemy? No, we just have different beliefs. Last time I checked, thats still allowed.

The fact that coal-mining benefits a few people is absolutely, undeniably true. I’m with Jeff Goodell in that there should be a giant monument to coal in every city square in America so that people recognize the importance coal has played in powering American military and industry for the last 100 years. But coal is undeniably hurting people to. Coal-mining (especially mountaintop removal) is hurting our economy, our mountains our communities, and public health. The use of coal and other fossil fuels is leading to catastrophic climate change. For the coal industry and their allies to simply deny reality and to paint anyone who would like to see incremental alterations of the coal industry “anti-American” is just pathetic. Tactics like this won’t work, and its why the fossil fuel industries are having to forge their own support. Sean Hannity, look at the obvious issues that come with coal-mining and help be a part of the solution. The denial, the condescension, and the overheated rhetoric don’t give me much hope that thats going to happen soon. Fortunately, we live in a country that accepts and welcomes most of us. So I’m going to have to continue flying my flag, loving my country, and doing my best to make it a better place in my own way.

And if I wanted to live in a cartoon, I would say Ted Nugent has a tiny flag, and mine hangs out with a Saturn Rocket.





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