Michael, I did read and enjoy your photos and commentary about coal mining and believe I clapped for the piece as I do for all your posts that catch my attention. You write passionately and beautifully about Appalachia and its people.

The choice of coal as my example was because of two reasons. First, coal came to mind because you live in a state that once had a vibrant coal industry. Also, I was raised in Virginia, another state with coal mining roots, and have family in Tennessee, another state with a strong coal industry history. Your state is also familiar to me as my family had friends in West Virginia. My stepmother was minorly involved in the country music industry there, particularly with WWVA and musicians in Wheeling. Trips to your beautiful state were always delightful adventures for me.

I didn’t mean to suggest that everyone in WV favored the coal mining industry or were involved in some way with it. Even when I was a child, there were strong voices in your state against coal, and I have traveled enough in the area to know its economic base is varied, as is your population, and not solely, or even predominantly, dependent on coal.

The second reason I used coal as an example was because I was so appalled that it became a campaign issue/promise for Trump, leading him to give false hope to the unemployed miners. I recently read that many of these idle miners are refusing re-education programs because they believe Trump will revitalize their dying industry. Talk about false hope! Coal, for those reasons, became my example choice.

As far as my use of the word fractured, let me more clearly explain my intent. Fractured, to me, implies a state of brokenness beyond repair, as in a mirror that is so shattered that its shards cannot be pieced into a whole resembling what it once was. I say that not because we have differing opinions, but because so many are now refusing to accept the facts that lead to differing opinions. If one screams FAKE NEWS when facts are presented, there cannot be discussion, much less compromise. Someone may have a strong argument that my opinion on a topic is erroneous because it is not properly supported by the facts or that my opinion is not based on all the facts or even that I have improperly applied the facts or did not fully understand them, but in all those arguments the facts themselves are not in question and the truth of the presented evidence is accepted by all parties, although our application or comprehension of the evidence can be disputed — Debate Class 101.

Our inability to discuss issues reasonably and come to a middle ground of agreement is the result of the denial of provable facts. As long as the cry of FAKE NEWS is used as a poor substitute for facts , compromise is impossible.

Your responses have helped me clarify my points, and I appreciate the feedback and opportunity to have an open and respectful discussion with you. As you said, we are mostly, if not entirely, in agreement. So often a response on this forum is written in haste due to time issues or other obligations, resulting in statements or the use of words that are not presented thoroughly or in such a way not completely clear to the reader. It is discussions like ours that help us better express ourselves and fine tune our writing while learning from one another. And, that is exactly what makes Medium the special place it is!

Written by

I was always a writer but lived in a bookkeeper’s body before I found Medium and broke free — well, almost. Working to work less and write more.

Get the Medium app

A button that says 'Download on the App Store', and if clicked it will lead you to the iOS App store
A button that says 'Get it on, Google Play', and if clicked it will lead you to the Google Play store