The Crone did not know any of the miners lost in the explosion at Upper Big Branch Mine in West Virginia but still finds it hard to believe that they went to work every day believing that real security and prosperity were to be their reward. It’s to be hoped that, before life was cut short, they pursued happiness with relish and vigor but, working in dark narrow tunnels deep underground, did they ever feel a sense of liberty? The mine’s owners have been accused of careless greed, and the President, as part of his eulogy yesterday, spoke of the need to close loopholes in regulation to force all miners to improve safety standards where there are mineshafts. But the American dream is conjured up by competition and entrepreneurialism which are often rewarded by risk.
Much as the Crone loves the President, and feels for the families of Upper Big Branch, she’s not sure that she’d have mentioned the American Dream in the context of these men and their lost lives. If they dared to dream, there must have been many days before the last day when its realization seemed very far off.