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Posted on Saturday, August 5, 2017 at 11:00 am

Protesting the eclipse, and other nonsensical things

EDITOR
susan campbell

A total solar eclipse due to darken swaths of the country for a few minutes on Aug. 21 is creating a frenzy. Hotels and state parks along the eclipse’s projected path are gearing up for the crowds they hope will come.

Space.com tells us that on that day, the sun will disappear behind the moon, turning daylight into twilight and causing the temperature to drop rapidly. The eclipse will reveal massive streamers of light streaking through the sky around the moon’s silhouette.

The whole event sounds like something out of a science fiction novel.

The Great American Total Solar Eclipse will darken skies from Oregon to South Carolina along a stretch of land about 70 miles wide. Tennessee is squarely in its path. It sounds like an unforgettable experience not to be missed.

One group of Kentucky coal miners, however, is none too pleased with the brouhaha over the upcoming phenomenon, and plans to do something about it. They are planning to protest the eclipse.

With the tagline “You can count on coal 24/7. You can’t always depend on the sun,” Kentuckians for Coal plans to stage a protest at noon in front of  Hopkinsville, Kentucky’s newspaper New Era because, as the press release reads, “the newspaper and other fake-news media have been over-hyping the eclipse because of its potential to boost local economic development, while ignoring the importance of the coal industry.”

According to the coalition of miners, union officials and coal users, hucksters will peddle overpriced souvenirs, hotels will jack up room rates by 400 percent, gas stations will run out of gas and cell phone service will shut down.

Also expected in Hopkinsville are “traffic jams, a run on available food, an invasion of prostitutes and extra crowds that will overwhelm local law enforcement.”

Yikes!

And, last but not least, the coalition wants everyone to know that there is a serious threat to spectators’ eyesight if they look at the sun without special eclipse-viewing glasses.

The goal of this protest seems to be to defend Kentucky’s coal industry against encroachment from renewable energy industries, which lessens America’s dependence on coal.

“Kentuckians for Coal stands against the eclipse and those who worship it,” the press release reads.

Now, most rational folks would question the validity of the “media alert” the newspaper received concerning a group that plans to protest a

A group of Kentucky coal miners are planning on protesting the upcoming solar eclipse. The group says its members “stand against the eclipse and those who worship it.”

solar eclipse, and, indeed, a quick Google search finds no mention of this particular group or its protest plans. The press release simply includes a media coordinator, Major Joseph Calvin, and an email address, kentuckycoalpower@gmail.com.

It did launch, however, a discussion among The News staff as to irritating and/or nonsensical things that deserve protesting just as much, if not more, than a solar eclipse.

Let’s start with the fact that our elected officials can vote themselves a raise in spite of a complete failure to accomplish anything, and they receive excellent health care benefits on top of it. That is definitely protestable.

Let’s protest the entire American election process, which is entirely too long and has mixed results, at best.

How about the fact that there is no edit button on Twitter? For those of us who use Twitter, the only way to correct a spelling or grammatical error is to delete the tweet and begin again.

And along those same lines, let’s protest people who rely solely on tweets for news, or those Facebook posters who don’t know the difference between “your” and “you’re,” post 150 pictures of their child’s first birthday or don’t actually read an entire news story before willingly offering an opinion.

Let’s protest drivers who don’t use turn signals, slow drivers in the left lane, or those who saunter to their cars when we are anxiously waiting for a parking spot.

How about people who still write checks at the grocery store, or those long, useless receipts some retailers hand out with $5 off a pair of shoes.

The interminable amount of time spent waiting in line to purchase a cellular phone is definitely worth protesting, as are the hours lost waiting in the doctor’s office.

Telemarketers who leave voice mails, self-checkout machines that don’t work, raisins in oatmeal cookies or humid Mondays – these all must deserve some sort of public outcry.

Bob Marley famously penned, “Get up, stand up. Stand up for your rights. Get up, stand up. Don’t give up the fight.”

The Kentuckians for Coal protestors are definitely putting these words into action with the planned protest of the eclipse, but the message they are trying to convey about saving coal jobs is getting lost in the nonsense of protesting an act of Mother Nature.

“The extent of this sun worship just lacks in common sense and good horse judgement,” the press release reads. In this particular case, good horse judgement seems to be in short supply.

Susan Campbell may be reached by email at tnedit@lcs.net.