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Are our dysfunctions legacy of anthracite past?

February 20. 2013 4:37AM
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Are our dysfunctions legacy of anthracite past?

I visited Council Cup overlook recently and saw a marked contrast between peaceful, agrarian, sun-dappled Columbia County and mountainous, brooding, storm-wracked Luzerne County off to the north.

It got me thinking about the challenge faced by our new Luzerne County Accountability, Conduct, and Ethics Commission.

A fundamental question is, how did we wind up where we are today?

There are no simple answers, and no answers at all where fear holds sway.

This, I think, has been the legacy of single-party politics in Luzerne County over the past century or so.

And it really doesn't matter which political party we speak of.

Both major parties have taken turns subverting democratic process in the name of good government, elevating lock-step loyalty to a dysfunctional level, and keeping the state's third most populous county barefoot and pregnant since before our grandparents were born. An old friend who grew up on a farm believes our ethically-challenged government was a holdover result of the county's mineral extraction economy, and I'm inclined to agree with him.

In an agrarian or agricultural economy, cooperation with one another and with the earth are key.

In an extraction economy, something valuable (in this case anthracite coal) is removed from the earth and not replaced. Resources are finite rather than renewable. Fierce, winner-take-all competition results, and with it comes tyranny of thought, spirit, enterprise, and government.

These things have lingered far beyond the heyday of King Coal.

It's not the whole answer, but it's a start. The light is beginning to break over Luzerne County now, but it's a fragile beam and we have a long way to go.

With more cooperation, more optimism, more understanding and less fear, the full sun of progress will shine here as well.

This is, at least, our fervent hope.

2nd Amendment-friendly? You'll get his business

Mr. James Kearney, I must agree with your letter (Jan. 27) stating that we should vote with our pocketbooks.

I for one and many others have decided that we will not patronize any business that is not Second Amendment friendly.

I will bet you that by the time the Democrats are finished we will no longer have a Constitution. So forget your freedom of speech, your right to a trial.

Remember, this administration also is saying it can kill Americans it deems a threat to them. And this is not just me talking, this is fact.

Rob Burnside Swoyersville Craig Budde Hazleton

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