We can’t scoff at toll of COVID
In “8:10 Land,” more local people — 117 — have died in less time than 21 died in the Korean War and the Vietnam War combined. Warren County had 111 World War II casualties. Warren County remains in the high category of community transmission.
However, in “8:10 Land,” less than 50% of the locals have accepted the scientifically tested, available, free and CDC approved vaccinations designed to lessen and prevent the effects of the current death causing viruses. Irate outbursts against the shots, mask wearing, and other virus caused disruptions of normal life are common. “Don’t tread on me” attitudes are expressed verbally, on street corner placards, rejection of mask wearing mandates in public places, and flag waving.
Some “8:10 Land” people distrust the vaccinations and refuse to have the serum injected into their bodies yet continue to smoke or vape or consume excessive amounts of alcohol, all to the determent to their bodies. They ignore the effectiveness of vaccinations that has eliminated 14 diseases: polio, mumps, chickenpox, measles, etc.
The disconnect between behavior and science has been replaced with a connection between behavior and political support for Trump.
Locals buy lottery tickets hoping for the jackpot while believing the virus will not strike them. The odds of COVID affecting you are higher than your hitting the lottery jackpot. This upside down belief is “8:10 Land reasoning”
In “8:10 Land,” our parents and grandparents’ attitude of we has been replaced with me in several more ways. One’s political position is more important than the public welfare. The “Great Generation,” we are not.
We financed World War II and the post war Marshall Plan, Eisenhower’s Interstate Highway System, and G.I. Bill, etc. with higher taxes. Today Amazon’s Jeff Bezo pays almost no taxes. He wangles hugely favorable deals for his construction sites and Bezo is perhaps the world’s richest person.
Stock gains are taxed at a lower rate than the working poor’s tax rate. Mandatory taxes for those earning $500,000 and more is the proposed means for paying for proposed Human and Traditional Infrastructure Improvement.
Some “8:10” locals dread the thought of “undeserving” people be given child care and post high school education. They shout wealth redistribution at its worse or socialism at its worse ignoring Social Security, MediCaid, and other social programs which hold our nation together. We obtain immense, and on going, returns from our social programs. Public education is a Human Infrastructure Investment. A larger, more capable labor force and stronger middle class are desirable national goals but not to McConnell, McCarthy, Thompson, Kelly, Toomey, etc. They are in lockstep playing hard ball politics seeking political advantage over doing the people’s business, me over we.
Also, in “8:10 Land” Trump’s “Drain the Swamp” signs remain despite one news release after another of Trump corruption and abuse of position. A recent disclosure involved Trump’s Mar-a-Lago Donors and Associates trying to illegally obtain over 9 million VA veterans’ medical records to sell for profit — pure swamp. Trump spent over 30% of this time as president in his properties (at taxpayers’ expense) a huge boom to Trump’s bottom line.
In “8:10 Land,” many of our youth venture off to the urban and metropolitan “blue” areas for higher learning and employment and thereafter shun many of their parents’ views. The youth appreciate their home area beauty and slower pace but tend to see beyond. To get along, they interact. They get acquainted and familiar. Attitudes change. Perspectives change. Information tends to be evaluated for face value as opposed to whether it supports “8:10 Land” platitudes, self interests and prejudices.
A significant part of our “8:10 Land” economy is fossil based. The extraction of petroleum and natural gas, their transport, and refinement are historic and vital for the area. “8:10 Land” locals tend to view proposed actions to counter Global Changing as existential threats. The view is shared with coal producing areas throughout the Appalachian region and in Montana, Utah, out west and in the southern and southwest oil/gas fields. Government subsidies for electric vehicles, solar/wind sustainable clean energy tend to be strongly opposed by locals.
Use of natural gas and petroleum products will not vanish. Over reaction is not a viable solution to the bigger problem of global change.
Old, smoggy, steel producing Pittsburgh lost its steel industry due to environmental issues and moreso due to foreign competition. Pittsburgh is now environmental friendly, prosperous and service oriented. Pittsburgh is the area where many of our youth who leave tend to gravitate.
One-third of Americans are convinced Trump won the election. I suspect more than a third of “8:10 Land” residents agree with them. To our east, in McKean County, two individuals were so convinced they were arrested for participating in the Jan. attempt to block the peaceful transfer of Presidential authority from Trump to Biden.
Meanwhile, in “8:10 Land” and western Pennsylvania some locals display Confederate flags, exhibit crude and vulgar signs (to our west, south of Titusville) and large local signs both north of Russell and an electric sign near the Glade Bridge – confirming “8:10 Land” folks’ refusal to entertain new evidence and facts, their reliance on Fox, distorted social media, and extreme right wing, wacky commentators, plus their pursuing short term self interests and being locked in a “time warp.”
Being a U. S. Congressperson for “8:10 Land” has to be one of the world’s easiest jobs, assuming re-election is the goal. Eight of ten Warren County voters voted for Trump in 2020.
Don Scott is a North Warren resident.