Billy Graham was the only TV preacher I ever trusted. Nicknamed “God’s Machine Gun,” he once told president Obama that the president’s pursuit of restrictions on guns would do nothing to change gun violence. I’d like to think that had he not passed last week, he’d agree that pursuit of senseless restrictions on coal mining is just as misguided.

During her presidential campaign in March of 2016, Hillary Clinton looked at the TV camera and proclaimed “We’re going to put a lot of coal miners and coal companies out of business.” Come November, thousands of Pike Countians voted for her anyway. Further back, in January 2008, Barack Obama made a similar promise, that being that if anyone wanted to build a coal-fired power plant they could, but under his policies it would bankrupt them. He went on to say that, under that same plan, electricity rates would skyrocket. Ten months later he received a whopping 42 percent of the vote in Pike County, the same county that calls itself “America’s Energy Capital.” I would hope that this 42 percent isn’t among those now on Facebook cursing the power company.

In defense of the innocent Republican customers that voted against a war on cheap energy, some suggest that the power company itself is complicit when it comes to the onslaught of higher rates. Kentucky Power, however, having submitted a plan for an unattainable plant upgrade, may have had no choice but to abide by the demands of the Democrats and their over-reaching, job-killing EPA. 

But anyone paying attention knew early on that the path would ultimately lead to higher rates, and their longtime friends and neighbors would have to step up and pay the bill. That’s not to mention how many people it would put out of work. Obama’s bold aspiration to bankrupt coal companies had its impact, as it has now trickled down to where our workforce is gone and you can’t afford to heat a singlewide.

Just like a liberal claiming to be a “strong advocate for the Second Amendment” while demanding you forfeit your AR-15, so go fake pro-coal Democrats, slapping the backs of miners in hopes of a vote, all the while supporting policies that aim to take the miners’ jobs. Most of these people don’t know an AR-15 from a shotgun, nor a dozer from a rock truck.

Crazy people with rifles bring about isolated tragedies that can never be legislated away. But the attempted murder of the coal industry is constant. The environmental machine gun, loaded with misinformation and over-regulation is what should have been banned, well before the last coal truck dumped at Louisa.  

Billy Graham once said “Hot heads and cold hearts never solved anything.” Having been blessed with both, I know first-hand the challenges they present. But just as it impacts an Appalachian home in the summer as it does one in the winter, the liberal left’s war on guns and coal does little towards cooling one and warming the other. 

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