West Virginia, You Sold My Soul
By DWM Media

Sitting here chatting on Facebook for the first time in a long time since the election, the feeling of my losing my soul arises more so lost now than ever before. I grew up in a small town, but the coolest town in America. No seriously, my town in West Virginia was voted nationally as the coolest. We even have multiple signs to prove it. I could walk or ride a bike into town crossing streets without traffic, without noise, and without pause. Leaving the house into town, the door remaining unlocked, and the radio in the garage remained on. I would make my way about to friends house. Gathering Lee Bird with Munk and Moose steady ready. That is how cool we were, we had nicknames and the ladies and bars loved and hated us many a nights in and out of school. While building our reputation good or bad we stuck together regardless of race and class. Myself the lower end of class and others broaden the spectrum of race in our friendships.

With youth comes learning, especially in West Virginia. My youth included watching the KKK march down my town streets. They gathered and were celebrated the same as our football team, if not more. It included the time I took a lady of color to the annual school prom. When I heard every slur imaginable and was told I brought shame to God, family, and country. Fast-forward the moments of youth to graduation and the reality of class versus struggles of right and wrong. Many couldn’t handle those struggles of education and learning, but for most it was the cost to be paid. The cost the family bears to send the last twenty dollars they have for schoolbooks. The cost a family shares in sports participation with cost of uniforms and travel, among many others. So my education was the same as many others from West Virginia. Education was not fulfilled or brought forth with the fierceness it deserved from the education system. This is the system at place, not the educators’ fault, not the fault of capitalism but rather the reality. This is the preface that many in my state face daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly.

My youth also included the Reagan administration. While West Virginia in the mist remained a democratic state that could not stand the man. I was raised when the nation as a whole lacked trust in President Reagan. Many believed he made the rich more prominent, and the middle class non-existent. Reagan began to define my journalistic experiences in that he always remained in controversy for his politics and corruption. My youth continued through the Bush family wars and the Clinton families’ sex stories. Yet, West Virginia remained steadfast and worrisome about change because by now corruption was the norm.

The thing is Mountaineers don’t forget and rarely forgive; they just accept it and work harder. Who made this state of paranoia and lack of trust in government in the hearts of minds of my fellow Mountaineers. Introducing back again from the depths of wherever souls as his may go, the former Governor Arch Alfred Moore Jr. Father of West Virginia Republican Senator Shelly Moore Capito. Capito will engulf our state in the middle of controversy now with reports from CNN that possibly herself and her son Riley Moore, along with now Republican Governor Jim Justice, were involved in election collusion with the Russian government. Reports are still early and facts remain unearthed at this hour, but we know this story already.

Another instance where West Virginia is forced to just accept. Governor Justice has escaped the ire of West Virginia after telling lies to myself, and the voters of the mountain state. The governor swore his allegiance to the Democratic Party when he took the oath as governor. It may not say that word for word, and not easily proven in a court of law. This however does not hide the fact, Governor Justice lied to us on his application for governor, and turned his back on the same people that got him elected.

The mountain state remains amid a cloud of corruption from the coal barons who giveth and taketh away. These coal barons include Senator Manchin and Senator Capito. West Virginia schools remain literally falling apart and are being heated with coal stoves that cover ash in our lunchrooms. Our states funds and jobs are depleted and our rainy day fund is dwindling. Remember that promise Justice made about fixing the budget crisis and how he wouldn’t allow a special session to again cost millions in tax dollars year after year. Speaking of taxes, we all should be asking Mr. Justice and his family to pay their taxes. Yes, Mr. Justice not Governor Justice. Justice has learned to cheat small business out of business by simply not paying bills and going to court. Many journalists have heard the pleas of the service providers including plumbers, florist, and laborers of Mr. Justice who claim he purposely ruined the families of many by not paying his bills. A local produce company, who wishes to remain private, withholds produce for the Greenbrier until payment clears. When I asked why they go through would continue to accept this practice I receive the same answer. We depend on those funds to stay in business and if Mr. Justice decides he doesn’t want to pay then he won’t. We just sell our souls and accept it.

West Virginia experienced a once in a lifetime flooding with burning houses and dead bodies floating down Mr. Justice’s golden golf course. As I gather my sports reporters in my office at the time, due to calls from crying families with water up to their neck and death knocking on the door, my phone rings. It is the Justice team offering the press to go up in a helicopter to tour the destruction. This was during his election period and I have learned to deal with his team, and the team of democratic leaders calling to lend their support to Mr. Justice.

By now the Justice campaign has locked up southern West Virginia with promises of social reform and funding. He promised to fix our schools, the school board, and programs funding less fortunate and elderly. What Justice said so many others repeated, including at the time candidate for W.V. Senate and supposed democrat out of Fayette county Delegate David Perry. The same Perry who claims to be a democrat while voting against everything the Democratic Party legislates. I spoke with elected officials of the Fayette county commission and Democratic Party who spoke with Perry over his policies. These same officials informed Del. Perry he must change his stance of gay marriage, pot, and education or they will not support his campaign officially. Perry informed the same member he just got “caught up in Charleston and hanging around the wrong people pushing the Republican agenda”. Perry claimed he would support the party and Democratic candidate for Governor Jim Justice. Now we must ask, was it the Republican Justice leading then Democratic Representative Perry-(Fayette), down a path of lies? Is this when Justice and Capito were now rumored to be in the works with the Russian government and trying to gain local support?

Ignoring the opportunity for a photo-op my news team made the decision to gather local rafting companies and guides for the rescue efforts thus saving lives. To gather food and supplies from less affected areas at the station and make them readily available. We spent 48 hours making rescues in flood waters covered with fuel, waste, and bodies. What could not be found was Mr. Justices’ helicopter. Nor Fayette counties massive tax burden the Boy Scout retreat, or any other sources of higher-class rescue. What the community did have was churches, and good-hearted individuals that came together via social media, and word of mouth to come stand by their neighbors’ side and recover together. Just look at the efforts of Sherriff Mike Fridley, that man was busting bad guys, while feeding and clothing those in need.

The two Senators we depend on went to work immediately. At least perception from press offices of Manchin and Capito were that of the two hard at work. The staffs of an elected official works very hard, and should be given credit along with the elected official in writing and processing grants and the process of funding relief. It was not only the two senators, but every politician was sending out a press release saying they were lending a hand or cleaning up. It may be harsh to say, but southern West Virginia was lucky it was election season. The news stations would get the occasional call saying, “hey fake news you report such and such was here cleaning but, he never cleaned and left when the cameras did.” This report was associated most with Republican Evan Jenkins commonly referred to as by those in southern WV as the “devil”. Myself being a loyal democrat I had to remain ethically bound my journalistic boundaries to report most of the calls and to point out the most obvious among them. I had to make this, an ethical decision based on the fact I was working with Billy Graham ministries and others in relief efforts. I did not want to report instances of deception on the behalf of politicians to hinder the funding to those in need. As I found myself searching my soul for the right answers, the election was heating up and nationally it was exploding. Meanwhile, I was selling my soul and forced to accept our politics.

West Virginia was not surprised by the nomination of candidate Trump quickly becoming the inauguration of President Trump. The state expected this in fact, despite what mainstream national media was reporting via local outlets. You could hear it at the Mountaineer game or your local diner. The seed was set in the minds of so many that President Obama ruined their lives by taking the coal industry down with regulations and standards that saves lives according to majority of scientist. The notion that coal keeps the lights on is very much true still in West Virginia. Some jobs remain and many families were built on coal in our communities depend on tax revenues from coal. Coal is a tree with many branches similar to our democracy. Sales teams of Walker and CAT have raised families from Thousand Oaks in Oak Hill to High Street in Morgantown. The industry continues to go underground and do god knows what with increasing and decreasing scales of protection and safety dependent on local, state, and national regulation and laws. Mountaineers work hard for survival, and for profit. You cannot and should not take that away from anyone in the United Sates of America. Taking away that desire to grow and work on becoming more prosperous and productive on behalf of society is against American values. So the question remains why sell the souls of our youth to elected officials like Moore, Capito, Manchin, Justice?

In Governor Arch Moore’s first term as governor in the early 1970’s he was suspected of stealing $80,000 in contributions for his own personal use. Now days that much money can support a family in West Virginia for maybe 2-5 years depending on the size of a family unit. This was in the early 70s, so that kind of money was unheard of. Money like that was a life-changing addition to so many in the state at that time. In fact, most where either going or coming from war at that time or underground digging coal. But Governor Moore was not detoured in his pursuit of corruption. Now key to remember is also the fact Governor Moore was a Republican and then President Nixon had no interest in bringing charges. Moore denied all claims and was not indicted, but John Bell his campaign manager was indicted for bribery. This was his first term in office representing the mountain state.

Moore went on to represent our state and rose in popularity. Moore a decorated veteran did so by helping increase social programs and building public transportation. Including what makes my town the coolest in the nation with the New River Gorge Bridge. Moore represented West Virginia in congress and as governor for many years. Governor Moore grew up in a family of politicians and the Moore family remains in charge of the mountain state. The question remains why do we ask of as those in charge of elected officials. Why keep electing a family that keeps placing the state in danger. The Buffalo Creek disaster created by coal mines, the same mines that pay to keep the Moore family in power. The same power that avoided corruption charges for years while many families struggle to feed and cloth their children in the state. Moore was accused of hiding murder charges for coal barons, laundering money, among many other charges. Charges that were never pursued by elected officials or judges. It took a member of his own team to wear a wire to not just catch Moore, but to convict him. The Assistant U.S. Attorney at the time described Governor Moore and his acts as “a scheme to run the election outside the limit of the law.” Does this sound familiar to the voting population of the mountain state and now the nation as a whole? Or the fact that Moore justified his charges as he did what he had for himself and his family. Not for the people of West Virginia but himself. Election fraud and charges of colluding with big business continue to plague his family to this day.

Now, West Virginia is a state that rotates between Republican and Democratic leaders in charge all from the same families hiding behind party affiliations for election purposes only. Not the ethics of representing different opinions and values in creating our local, state, and national laws and regulations. A notion known as election where and elected officials takes an oath to support those whom elected him or her. Without this process we don’t have separation of church and state, free speech, and many more rights we as Americans are born with. The Moore and Manchin families have run our state into the ground. While gaining the support of local politicians like David Perry and Evan Jenkins all hoping to be the next family on the golden throne of Charleston and beyond. All success and failures dependent on coal production and jobs, thus giving the illusions of employment and profit. Meanwhile the states miners break their backs and fill their lungs with cancers. Speaking with a doctor that is a WVU and Duke graduate, I was informed that West Virginia has cancers never seen before. That often the medical community remains baffled by some of the results coming out of our communities. The same coal communities that polluted the water of Wolfe Creek, and many streams run down our mountains filled with toxic waste. The same mountains that were carved apart for profit and now cause regional flooding not seen in decades or lifetimes.

The Manchin family has made their way through local government, state school boards, U.S. Senate, and the offices of the Coal presidents throughout the world. We lead the nation in an uneducated workforce, able bodies not working, opioid abuse, obesity and so many more negative factors that lead to poverty and unattainable goals. Examine the families of West Virginia and how many families are broken currently due to lack of employment. The fact remains families have split in the state because residents are forced to look beyond our states borders for jobs.

The lack of jobs was completely blamed on President Obama in the mountain state and dictated language of the election. Now employment numbers are gaining due to past administrations, with West Virginia way behind national figures. Governor Justice a coal baron himself owes millions to our state in taxes. The Governor turned his back on the voters after meeting with President Trump. The Governor switched to the Republican Party, now amidst controversy. Did President Trump force his hand over contact with Russian coal barons? This is the question that looms over the mountain state this morning. The Governor is willing to take his own state to court over funds as he did small business and continue to hold down the hard working families of West Virginia. Another coal baron Don Blankenship was openly campaigning after being convicted for everything but the death of miners. Who was he campaigning for? It was coal, and coal had a perfect enemy in Hillary Clinton. Meanwhile, during the election it is believed that someone in the state, which may be an elected official, is colluding with Russian officials to corrupt another state election with national ramifications. This story still fresh and without all the facts, but immediately once again it is the men and women of the mountain state who will still wake up, work, struggle, and pray.

Senator Capito and the Moore family again bring the state shame, and should be accounted for. Senator Capito has announced her support in sending more troops to Afghanistan and is a leading Trump supporter. Senator Manchin is the go to for Republicans in congress when wanting to do away with a social program that will help the majority of the residents in my state. He is even sought after as a democrat to be on the Trump staff. Governor Justice claimed during the election he was a democrat, and would not raise taxes; never accept the budget shortfall or special sessions. Since then the DMV taxes have increased, tolls on the rise, special budget sessions, and schools continue to crumble. He put the same guy that was in charge of crumbling schools at one time in charge of education.

The illusions of war and the claims of fake media distract you today in West “By God” Virginia. Meanwhile Manchin, Justice, Moore, Capito, Perry, Jenkins and elected officials continue to steal the souls of our youth. Standing in the way of a beautiful state becoming prosperous. For personal profit and gain. Looking around the country you can decide what you want to be. Don’t believe the notion that California is full of Obama supporters and alternative lifestyles. When in fact the northern part of the state is supportive of conservative values. The fact that San Jose is building an Apple complex, and searching for talent that requires STEM education. The fact the Apple building is being built promoting clean air and advancements in technology. The same technologies that will take illegal and legal immigrants out of the fields and replace them with robots. The fact that once Apple introduces a product, the competition in Amazon and Goggle are waiting to make something bigger, better, and more affordable. This could be West Virginia if when electing officials, quit letting the same families run over local and state governments for the benefit of themselves. Benefiting while seeking the help of a communist government that took the lives of so many Americans and Mountaineers. No longer sell the souls and forcing Mountaineers to just accept losing, when it was really just taken away.

{David is a former news anchor and director with internal knowledge of campaigns and elected officials in West Virginia. He grew up in West Virginia making a name for himself in Journalism dating back into his high school days when he was writing advertisements and campaign speeches before he was 16. During high school he then gave a nationally recognized speech to Governor Caperton concerning school safety and guns after incidents with the KKK. He now runs a small business DWM Media out of Los Angeles and Pebble Beach California.}