June 1, 2023

Why I’m Ashamed To Be From West Virginia

Why I'm Ashamed To Be From West Virginia

I'm ashamed to be from West Virginia and here is why.

Growing Up In West Virginia

Growing up in West Virginia I heard all the jokes, I saw the decay, I watched as most of the kids in my classes left when their parents found better jobs in better places. I'm not blind to the way that West Virginia is largely just seen as a place to take from.

Despite everything I still was never shy about telling people that I was born and raised in West Virginia. The state is beautiful, regardless of how the extraction industry works hard to destroy that beauty.

Too, so many of the people living there are good people. While it's true that there are lots of West Virginians who've been filled with hatred and rage. This is largely due to propaganda and desperation. They live in a place that sees them as a resource to be taken from too. As a result, it makes a lot of sense that they're bitter.

Escaping The Void

Escaping the void is my terminology. I've watched as people struggle to get away from the desperate economic situation, lack of resources, regressive tax policies, and ecological disasters that plague West Virginia.

Those who have never escaped are usually the ones without the resources to do so. That, or they've been there so long that they've just accepted it. Don't get me wrong, there are brave souls who've moved there trying to make improvements. At times these folks even have some limited success.

My escape

For me, my escape didn't take me very far, just far enough. I made it to Pittsburgh, PA. Close enough to have economic opportunities but still return to see the land I came from on a fairly regular basis.

Getting out of West Virginia allowed me to open my own business and have some success. Without a doubt that wouldn't have been the case had I stayed.

Why I'm So Ashamed Right Now

My discontent started a long time ago so why am I so ashamed right now?

What finally kicked it over the edge for me was a personal attack by Senator Joe Manchin. Joe has been a disgrace for a long time, probably always. Like so many other politicians and business people in West Virginia Joe just sees the state as a place to extract money from.

Why Joe Manchin is Terrible For West Virginia

Today Joe voted to strip myself and millions of other working people of the tiny fraction of student loan forgiveness that we're fighting for. He did so claiming that it wouldn't be fair to other people who paid their loans off or to people who didn't go to college.

Why Joe Manchin is wrong about Student Loan Forgiveness

Joe is wrong about student loan forgiveness and he knows it. He knows his republican talking points are wrong. He knows that the debt relief wouldn't be paid for by taxpayers. In fact it would stimulate spending and help the economy.

Joe knows that the millions of Americans struggling with student loan debt have paid their balances twice over. He knows that.

Joe Manchin also knows that erasing a large portion of student loan debt will allow more working people to have greater economic freedom. This is at the core of the attempts to prevent Biden's student loan plan from happening.

The Republicans and Joe Manchin know that if student loans are forgiven or greatly reduced that working people will be less desperate. They want working people to be desperate, scared, and feel trapped.

Joe knows that millions of working people who still live in West Virginia would benefit. Worse, he has zero problems giving handouts to the filthy rich and to corporations, cutting their taxes, and fighting for them to be able to destroy the state and people he is supposed to represent.

Joe Manchin Makes Me Ashamed To Be From West Virginia

Senator Joe Manchin makes me ashamed to be from West Virginia and I can't help but say something. I know that he won't listen. He didn't listen when people still living in West Virginia confronted him on his yacht. He doesn't listen when the people of West Virginia show up to his office or call his staff.

Joe doesn't listen, he doesn't care, and that fills me with shame about my birth state of West Virginia.

Pro Photographer Artist Designer Don OrkoskeyI am Don Orkoskey, this is my website (one of them at least). I'm the owner of WDO Photography based in Pittsburgh. When not writing I am an event and portrait photographer, nature photographer, and photography teacher. Contact me to learn more Sign up for my monthly newsletter for loads of great photography articles.
June 1, 2023 | W.D.Orkoskey
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