Our ‘Shelley Moore Capito Reader’ includes: 1) A dissertation in ‘Hillbonics’ on Capito’s bonafides, courtesy Rebecca Kimmons; 2) A WestVirginiaVille Justice Project video which offers her a new, free slogan (‘Nothing. It’s What She Does.’); 3) A point/counterpoint of the sort of letter you get when you write her all serious-like—and she writes back. Sort of.
1. ‘At der Shelley More Capital …’
Whut was that you was sayin’ about ‘at der representative guberment? ‘At der Shelley More Capital, she talks so purty. ‘Ats cause she’s smartern you and me. She don’t talk like ol Big Jim. She don’t talk like ‘at, cause she done went down to ‘at der Duke University, the Harvard of the South don’t you know, and then she done went over to at der University of Virginnny–home of them Cavaliers, you know, and everything, and she done studied education. At der Big Jim, he studied education over at Marshall University, and they was embarrassed to tell him he don’t talk like ’em people down at Duke or the University of Virginny, but they figured it don’t matter no how cause he ain’t never going nowhere outside out of West Virginny anyway.
Now Shelley, she never spent much time over here in West Virginny cause her daddy done sent her to them fine schools out of state. At der Holton Arms private school, you know, and everything. And nen Duke, and nen UVA. She learned how to write long letters that don’t say nuthin, but then again, she may have got a natural talent for that. Else’n maybe she done hired folks at is good at that.
They read one of them letters and they couldn’t think no more.
Her letters done stunned some folks right out of ther minds. They read one of them letters and they couldn’t think no more. But Shelley, she thinks good. She got one of them flexible minds. She can twist herself into whutever shape at der feller teerump, and at der feller Mitch McConnell tells her to twist into. Now she might look mighty peculiar to you and me, but teerump and mitch, they like how she looks with her big behind showing, and that’s all ‘at matters. Stand by yer man and everything, you know.
Hillbonics is Rebecca Kimmons’s native tongue. She learned to code switch at the age of ten, when a young scholar, visiting from Ohio, informed her that the word was “can’t,” not “cain’t.” Hilarity was highly prized in her extended Beckley, WV family, and a key to survival in the Mabscott neighborhood where she grew up. She holds a degree in journalism from West Virginia University and a master’s degree in creative writing from the University of Iowa. She loves the music of language.
2. ‘Nothing. It’s What She Does’
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While waiting on Shelley Moore Capito to do the right thing you may notice your hair turn another color and not from dye. So, WestVirginiaVille points its second Justice Project editorial video her way (above).
West Virginians who care about pulling the state into the 21st century from the 19th (I believe we missed the 20th) need to play the long game. The slate of West Virginia Can’t Wait candidacies—Capito’s Democratic opponent, Paula Jean Swearengin, is one— and Stephen Smith’s gubernatorial campaign earlier this year got lots of balls rolling at once.
Even if Swearengin may not be your perfect progressive, liberal or even centrist cup-of-tea, she is in the game. Read The Nation article about her, “Paula Jean Swearengin Wants to Turn West Virginia Blue.” We must keep pressing onward with whatever it takes. One thing you have to say about the contemporary, amoral, Machiavellian, wildly successful Republican Party—they play the long game extremely well. Unlike the now-Trumpublican Party, progressives must learn to play the long game and not lose our souls in the process.
I dearly wish to believe—and WestVirginiaVille.com exists, in part—to support the spirit of The Nation article’s sub-headline: “In a state Democrats have all but abandoned, the daughter of a coal miner represents a growing progressive wave.“
Democrats’ refusal to support progressives in what was once a deep-blue union state, The Nation notes, “ignores the 23 percent of voters registered as independents, as well as the fact that more West Virginian voters are still registered as Democrats than as Republicans.”
So, it’s time to go long. Let’s garner as much support as possible for Swearengin. And dig in for a seige. If Capito cannot be unseated this time, six years is a lot of time to learn better seige tactics. Capito does not appear teachable. As The Nation goes on to say:
As the state’s red hue deepens and Trump’s GOP drags Capito further to the right, those moderate politics are sure to change, one way or another.
WestVirginiaVille prefers to see politics in the Mountain State change for the better.
That’s our vote.
~ Douglas John Imbrogno
3. Letter Rip
In late October 2020, West Virginia resident Alan Tweddle sent the following e-mail letter to Shelley Moore Capito’s Washington D.C. office:
Senator: Why are you supporting the growth of the oil and gas industries on federal lands when the greatest threat to the planet is from drilling, mining, storing, transporting, and burning of all fossil fuels? Why are you not instead transitioning to renewable energies that are not only greenhouse gas free, but now much lower in costs than all the fossil fuels?
Proof example: the largest public utility in the country—the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power—just signed last year a 20-year, fixed wholesale price for solar energy at $0.033/kWh! John Amos costs $0.14/kWh! That’s 4.24 TIMES what we should be paying! Why are you not demanding that ALL our West Virginia utilities transition to clean safe renewable energy technologies to reduce emissions and costs ? Are they not required to provide the lowest possible cost of energy to ratepayers?
How can you continue to support such a deadly and irresponsible industry?
We could with solar power have two new benefits of achieving zero carbon emissions and lower utility costs. And thousands of new clean safe jobs would be created. Coal miners can be, and are being, retrained by Coalfield Development in Huntington WV, to be solar installation technicians. The life expectancy of workers in clean safe jobs is in their late 70s! For underground coal miners it’s only 57 years!
How can you continue to support such a deadly and irresponsible industry? We taxpayers are fed up with having to pay taxes to clean up the horrible waste and toxic deposits in so-called “ponds,” abandoned mines by coal companies hiding in bankruptcy, and forcing us to breath the foul air from overpriced coal fired power plants.
Transitioning to renewable energy is an opportunity for win, win, win! Fossil fuels are a lose, lose, lose! Here in our own state of West Virginia, real leadership is being shown by people and companies like Toyota in Buffalo WV, which has committed to achieving 100% solar power for their automobile manufacturing operations.
Join the future. It has arrived and the infinite source of clean safe energy is so readily available, blowing and shining upon us all.
Why are you still supporting fossil fuels? Are you still using a manual typewriter? Are you still driving a 1950s gas guzzler? My wife and I have a Hyundai Hybrid getting up to 50 mpg on the highways! Our next car will be 100% electric. And we hope to add solar panels when we next have to get a new roof.
When I was an engineering consultant to the South Coast Air Quality Management District in Southern California, I worked on a major alternative fuels study. I came up with the idea for—and we built—the world’s first solar-powered carports to charge the electric cars of employees and visitors to their offices. That was in the 1980s! SCAQMD did not charge anything! They have been so popular and successful that SCAQMD is expanding them since electric cars are the fastest growing segment of all car sales.
Why not plan for a huge job-creating program of adding solar powered charging stations at every shopping center, or public parking lot, or at any and all government buildings? Join the future. It has arrived and the infinite source of clean safe energy is so readily available, blowing and shining upon us all.
Below is Shelley Moore Capito’s response—which speaks for itself, albeit not to a single one of Allan Tweddle’s points.
EDITORIAL: The Art of the Trumpian Limerick: As Trump’s first term limps towards its end, we drop in on a Trumpian chronicler. West Virginia writer Colleen Anderson has been chronicling Trump’s misrule for four years now—in limericks.
EDITORIAL: “The West Virginia Hills” and the Race for WV Attorney General: On one hand, you have WV Attorney General Patrick Morrisey and his Trump-Adoring, Affordable Care Act Torpedoing Ways. On the other , there’s labor lawyer Sam Brown Petsonk. Here are two minutes about that.