Monday, July 5, 2010

West Virginians Have Been Told it is Raining

The Great State of West Virginia remains at or near the top of nearly every bad list and at the bottom of every good list of social, economic, educational, and health statistics. For example--

  1. Third highest tax burden per citizen in the nation.
  2. Third last in median household income and fourth last in personal income per capita.
  3. Fifth from the top in percentage of people who live below the poverty level.
  4. Fourth highest high school dropout rate.
  5. Dead last in percentage of college degrees; third last in graduate degrees.
  6. Fourth in the percentage of mobile homes.
  7. Highest rate of children who live with their grandparents.
  8. Diabetes rate leads the nation, along with high blood pressure rate, cholesterol rate, and loss of natural teeth.
  9. Fourth lowest birth rate.
  10. Fifth highest cancer death rate.
  11. Highest obesity rate.
  12. Highest percentage of smokers and users of smokeless tobacco.
  13. First in percentage of people living with a disability.

And yet, West Virginians have overwhelmingly re-elected the same ideology to political office for decades on the national and state level. Speaking of lists, is there one for the greatest percentage of people who have been repeatedly bamboozled, and are happy about it? What do we get for our blind allegiance? Do we really prefer the crumbs of federally-funded bridges, roads, buildings, and programs over real and radical improvement to the state of the State? Honestly, I don't care who they are or what party they are from, can we get someone--anyone--who can do something--anything--to actually make a difference within, oh let's say 50 years or so? Fifty years should be enough time to make a difference. Right?

Whoops! Maybe not.


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