Monday, June 28, 2010

Robert Byrd, dead at 92

It's hard for me to think of former Senator Robert Byrd as anything but a cartoon character.  The first time I remember seeing him was during the Reagan presidency, I believe.  Byrd was leading a filibuster of something; he went from talking about how funny his bird dog looked when you first woke him up in the morning to mint julep recipes to these huge, Shakespearean gestures and grandiloquent pronouncements of the doom that would ensue if Reagan's tax cuts (or whatever) were enacted.

He always struck me as being idiotically partisan.  Maybe I'm being unfair; he certainly didn't often agree with what I thought needed to happen.  

Maybe the force that drove him was the conviction that West Virginia would never prosper without huge infusions of federal money.  So he turned into the King of Pork, bringing hundreds of millions of dollars back to the Mountain State.  But where has all that federal spending left West Virginia?  It's still not the model of modernity.  The state still does not value education.  Life expectancy is low and dependency on government is high.  Drugs.  Teen pregnancy.  Adult illiteracy.  POVERTY.  

The war on poverty has been lost for a long time, because poverty isn't just a condition of the pocketbook or bank statement.  Poverty is the result of the wrong attitudes and values.  Dumping federal money on such a problem doesn't solve the problem, it just gives the people around the problem more money.  It doesn't change hearts or attitudes or values.


Anonymous Kris Langstaff said...

The ultimate term limit strikes again!

I totally agree with you about the mindset of poverty. 2 years ago, or maybe 3, Findlay got hit be the worst flooding it had seen in over a century. While it certainly didn't compare with, say Hurricane Katrina, for those affected, it was still traumatic.

Instead of waiting for FEMA and other government agencies to get involved, the people if Findlay banded together and helped each other begin the clean-up process. Contrast that with the flooding experienced here in Grayson a few months ago.

A friend of mine lives in rural Carter County, which is about 1 minute in eaiher direction from the center of town...) and he was directly impacted by the flooding. As soon as it quit raining and dried up a bit, he and his family went to work, clearing the debris and repairing fence row. He was amazed that no one else around him started cleaning up. No one. He asked a few people what they were waiting for, and the responses he got were along the lines of:"We're waiting on the money to come in."

I'm certainly not saying this is true acrtoss the baord, but I was struck by the comments made by those folks. It's the mindset in this area and it makes me sad.

9:27 AM  

Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home