Column • Where he sees disdain and division, I see charity and unity.
This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2012, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Devastated that Barack Obama overcame Mitt Romney for the U.S. presidency, Ohio coal magnate Robert Murray convened his staff and offered a prayer for the American people.
He delivered it Wednesday at a private gathering at Murray Energy Corp.'s headquarters. No word on whether those staffers had been expected to send donations to Romney's campaign fund, which expanded significantly after Murray escorted the candidate to soirées in the Buckeye battleground state.
So, in honor of Murray's prayer lamenting Obama's victory and blaming it for new layoffs at Carbon County's West Ridge mine I have decided to make my own plea to the Almighty.
Dear Ms. God:
The American people have indeed made their choice in re-electing President Obama. I believe that Americans share our Founders' principles of caring for and educating our children and helping others to build or repair their lives. Capitalism lives.
Still, one of your believers, Bob Murray, sees national weakness in the election outcome. I see strength. The Bush recession certainly put millions out of work and drove down their standard of living.
Murray's talk of "lower and lower levels of personal freedom" puzzles me, too, Ms. God. I see integrity and courage among the poor as well as the rich; we freely share with one another for the common good.
I see and feel no reduced personal freedom, either. Rather, I see Americans fighting as they always have against corporate interests that amass millions, even billions, and still slash wages and reduce benefits for their workers, if not firing them outright.
As for our young people missing out on what "America was like or might have been," it's my view that they have seen what America "was like" and want to make it better, to make health care available to all and to toil in the fields of their choosing. Some of our greatest Americans went through the crucible of the Great Depression and most emerged kind, strong and smart. So will today's Americans.
As for the takers outvoting the producers, I say to Murray, I understand your quotation from 2 Peter, chapter 1, verses 4-9, but consider this one: "St. Peter, don't you call me 'cause I can't go, I owe my soul to the company store."
Ms. God, I'm sure you will forgive Murray and his people for the decisions they "are now forced to make to preserve the very existence of any of the enterprises that you help us build." As always, you will provide guidance as to a new business model in "this drastic time" fraught with "drastic decisions."
And your model may differ markedly from Murray's, which included 102 layoffs at his West Ridge mine in Utah, 52 at his American Coal Co. in Ohio and seven at his trucking operation in Wheeling, W.Va.
I do ask one thing of you, Ms. God. Please send my kindest regards to the nine men who died in Murray's Crandall Canyon Mine in Utah in 2007, three of them while trying to find the other six. That was the epitome of selflessness.
Peg McEntee is a news columnist. Reach her at firstname.lastname@example.org, facebook.com/pegmcentee and Twitter, @pegmcentee.