Tuesday, September 23, 2008

You Know What Keeps Running Through My Mind?

I live in a small town literally built up from a camp around a coal mine head. The old mine head is in the center of town a few blocks north of the square, no kidding. In fact, we are the site of the famous Virden Mine Riot of 1898. The nearly-famous Mother Jones monument and gravesite is in nearby Mount Olive (the story I've always been told is that Mother Jones wanted to be buried "with the Virden miners," but their cemetary was on company property and the coal company wouldn't allow it--so Mount Olive was the nearest miners' cemetary not owned by a hostile coal company.)

What were coal mine towns famous for? The company store. You load 16 tons, and what do you get? Another day older and deeper in debt. Don't call me St. Peter, 'cause I can't go . . . I owe my soul to the company store. That's the song, right?

What would it be like if the federal government had owned the company store? It should be interesting to see what it's like when millions of citizens owe their biggest debts to the federal government, don't you think?