New Age “The Good The Bad and The Ugly”
One of the most consistent things in my life from childhood till now is just how much I love a good Western. Even today if I am down or not feeling well I’ll hide out and watch episodes of Bonanza or Gunsmoke.
Talking with a friend once we tried to analyze exactly why that was. Basically I think it’s the simplicity of it. There are clear lines drawn between the good guys and the bad guys and usually the good guys end up winning in the end. Even on those rare occasions when the good guy starts out as a bad guy when that crucial moment of choice comes along he makes the decision to do the right thing.
Most Westerns have a common theme. There is a sleepy little town and suddenly the bad guys come riding in guns a blazing. In a storm of sweat and dust they take over the town, abuse the people, extort them for money and steal their land.
Someone, maybe the Sheriff or more likely some uncommon hero like a farmer steps up and leads the towns folk to revolt and drive the monsters out. As viewers we can unabashedly cheer and not lament their demise. I like it because it makes sense to me and sometimes I wish life today were more like a good Western.
Today’s bad guys don’t ride in on horses and shoot up towns. Today they show up in government issued automobiles wearing Ray Bans with their shirtsleeves rolled up to make them seem less aggressive. Sometimes they have guns but usually they have their smart phones and clipboards close at hand. They are still the bad guys though. They still abuse the people, they still extort them for money and yes they still steal their land. Sadly today we don’t seem to have anyone who knows how to drive them out of our towns. Because before we can even see the damage they have planned for us they have slunk back off to their dens in DC, where with the click of a mouse and the stroke of a pen they seal our fates.
The EPA is today’s equivalent of Lee Van Cleef who in my opinion set the bar for the most epic of all Western genre movie bad guys. My state of West Virginia has become just one huge sleepy little town ripe for the new age bad guys to come in and try to take over. We are far from perfect. (click here)
We have a big drug problem and a spreading entitlement mentality that would cause the poorest of 3rd world nations to hang their heads in shame. But for the most part we are comprised of people who are trying to live our lives, raise our families, run our businesses and survive in the world as it is today.
The EPA has engaged in what often feels like a personal vendetta against us. They are destroying our coal industry and targeting our farmers with some of the most insane lawsuits imaginable.
Take for example this situation where a chicken farm in Hardy County WV is being hit with what could amount to $37, 500 per day in fines for not obtaining a National Pollutant Discharge Elimination System discharge permit. This is a permit for something that has not happened but maybe, might or could happen.
It’s a little hard not to take this personally when the action called for does not seem to require this farmer to clean anything up. It just requires she pay an extortion fee for something that might happen one day.
So I long for a John Wayne, Clint Eastwood or Terrence Hill of days gone past to ride in, rally the people and send the bad guys exactly where they belong.