We are often accused of not listening to the “other side.” I’ve been looking for ways to empathize – to find some common ground. So, if you’re on “the other side,” this is what we are fighting for. If you’re invested in the country and compassionate, then I hope you’re looking for ways to understand, too.

I promise it’s not accusatory and it’s worth reading. People say that they shouldn’t have to pay for the health insurance of “welfare queens,” people who don’t work hard, people who are undeserving, people who “shouldn’t be here.” Ok, well here. These are coal miners, deep in Appalachia, that “heart of America.” They’re coal miners because that’s what their fathers and grandfathers have been, and that’s what they do. I don’t think coal is a sustainable source of energy, and I think we should be looking for ways to transition – and ways to help these people transition, as well – but that’s not on the coal miners; this is their way of life, and it is what it is.

But the coal miners are getting sick, in larger numbers – black lung disease is simply a result of the work they do, and the lifelong exposure to coal. They work hard, they work long hours, but they can’t get tested, because that could be grounds for being fired. If protective gear is provided (and, mind you, coal companies tried to sue against federal mandates on dust protection for workers), it’s often not convenient and slows them down, and they are only valuable if they’re fast – they’re replaceable. So they get sick, and without ACA (yes, Obamacare), and its protection for pre-existing conditions, they will not have insurance or care once they are too sick to work. Their wives, who have mostly stayed home to take care of kids, because that’s what they do, often don’t have work experience or other qualifications for work, so that’s not an option.

These people work hard, all of their lives – they’re not lazy, or undeserving – just trying for that “American Dream” that’s marketed so stubbornly. People seem to think that if they work hard, go to church, stay on the “straight and narrow,” everything good will come to them and stay that way. Sorry, but sometimes that’s not all it takes. Every day, children are diagnosed with cancer. “Good,” “smart,” people get hurt on the job. People who worked hard all of their lives and never took a sick day in fifty years, get Alzheimer’s and need around-the-clock care. There is no such thing as “fiscally conservative & socially liberal.” The two go hand in hand. If you want to take care of these people, you have to take care of everyone. And I thought that’s what we all wanted?

For reference:
http://www.npr.org/…/advanced-black-lung-cases-surge-in-app…
http://www.npr.org/…/retired-coal-miners-at-risk-of-losing-…
And here’s one from FOX:
http://www.foxbusiness.com/…/mcconnell-trump-hesitate-on-co…