Tuesday, November 09, 2010

Dear Rand Paul

Dear Mr. Paul,

You are an ophthalmologist, a sight specialist. I must reveal that I question yours — sight, insight, point of view. You say, for instance, that mountaintop removal improves the land. Can you not see that this method of coal retrieval has lay to ruin a million acres of Appalachia, and buried 2,000 miles of streams? Would you not recommend that the eyes of eastern Kentuckians close at night to rest? Yet, our eyes do not rest because of harsh lights that intrude around the clock so that machines can obliterate our mountains ever faster. Do you not hear the thunder of the dynamite, the incessant noise of chain saws and bulldozers clear-cutting our forests? Have you not tasted the fouled water, polluted with coal slurry, that sicken our children? Have you not been touched by the sorrow of the people of this state who have lost their property, their jobs, their culture, their health and even their lives due to this practice?

When we refer to mountaintop removal as the rape of Appalachia, the metaphor is apt. When you say, Mr. Paul, that mountaintop removal is good for the land, your comment sounds very like the pimp who rapes and beats women into submission so they make better prostitutes. Compliant and defenseless. Nobody is going to miss a hill or two, you say.

Dear Mr. Paul, you say that Oxycontin abuse is not a pressing problem in our state. Are you not aware in Kentucky we have a generation of young people now struggling with a tenacious addiction to a pill that was promoted as non-addictive by a corporation that knew better? Do you not notice the drug-related crime statistics in the paper? Have you not read their obituaries?

Dear Rand Paul, do you believe the things you say about the need to repeal parts of the Civil Rights Act, or the lack of need for legislation to protect those who face discrimination?

Or are you, Mr. Paul, just the latest beneficiary of the sadly effective Southern Strategy implemented by Richard Nixon, which plays to our worst instincts, our prejudices and our fears? Are you just the libertarian version of the politician who snows us with lies proffered as facts by repeating them ad infinitum in their “news” programs? It goes like this: Fox News quotes Rush Limbaugh, who got his information from Sharron Angle, who’d had a conversation with Sarah Palin, who’d heard it on Fox News — a self-affirming circle of fact-free constructed realities. You are familiar with this method in your own life, Mr. Paul, certifying yourself as a qualified ophthalmologist by a board that you established yourself and populated with your family members.

Nevertheless, you have been elected to represent my state in the US Senate. Your job is to open your eyes to the reality of our beautiful and beleaguered state. Your job is to stop the destruction of our mountains, not to turn a blind eye their devastation. Your job is to help our youth struggling with bleak job prospects and pill habits, to have the vision to help them, instead of denying their existence. Your job is to represent the people, all of us.

Dear Rand Paul, Now is the time to come to your senses.

CD Collins
Native Kentuckian