Months ago I came across a recorded book that I immediately downloaded. The little review on screen introduced the subject(s) as Appalachian refuse made good. The author was in a car down where he grew up, Middlefield, Ohio
I downloaded Hillbilly Elegy; it sounded like one more book about my dad's life, sans the car. Around that time I read a string of books about the little guy persevering for a small win against Big Industry/Pharma/Chemical/Legal America.
Dark Waters attorney Mark Bilott realized unexplained deaths in his hillbilly portion of West Virginia might be, and indeed were connected to DuPont manufacturing chemical discharge in and around Parkersburg, West Virginia.
Another was Just Mercy, way further south, but still about poor people running out of resources against unrestrained power. I'm an Ohioan born and raised watching Appalachian transplants coming to make good in factories on all four corners of this state, and in between, north and south, east and west.
Some did OK, some did not. You may remember Starlett, a gifted artist who battled drugs all her adult life. She gave up life back in her heaven on earth, Coker Creek, Tennessee. I've been around for seven decades now, seeing the turning wheels that put chemicals in creeks and more drugs than can be consumed by the entire world out for Americans to have.
Hillbilly Elegy became a Ron Howard film that, again, I merely stumbled across. I had no idea I was watching Glenn Close until I read others assessments of the film. The film deviated from the book in several unimportant ways. For me, it was another film dedicated to the trashing of America in all the parts of the heartland these manufacturers have used and left.
Why aren't they leaving behind enough money to educate the children of all the men and women who came to work for them. Why aren't they cleaning up the land, water and air they polluted. Why is it taking thousands of investigative attorney hours to show all the laws broken, violated, just to get a ruling for a stingy bit of remediation.
I could continue rambling on, as seems to be my best ability these last several years. I wrote this because I see so much truth in Hillbilly Elegy, both the book and the film. The point to me is not simply the triumph of one young man's family, but the concentric circle surrounding the story and reaching out to all corners of both my state and my country.
Those responsible for all the kinds of pollution are not held accountable or responsible. The success of one young man is wonderful; the surroundings he succeeded against, reprehensible.
I should go back and edit this screed into a tight couple of paragraphs about the shortcomings of hillbillies and how they can be fixed, especially before they fall for another bad president. And I still am capable of that, but it would take me a week, and even then would not erase one Pentecostal church offering a solution to poverty and ignorance, when the solution actually is the accountability of the people who underwrote the problem.