By Cassady Rosenblum
On Sunday, the United States of America turned 245 years old. To commemorate the holiday, The Parsons Advocate asked ten residents from Tucker County what they think about America’s future.
Heidi Snyder, a mother of four who was cooling off with her children in Otter Creek, summed up the general mood of the day. “Disappointing,” she said. “We have lost sight of what the Founding Fathers wanted. Nowadays, people expect too much for nothing.”
Larry Sims, a veteran who was sitting in the shade of the new glassblowing garage in Davis, also said he feels the country is going “downhill” because people don’t want to work anymore. Sims identified the source of the problem as expanded unemployment benefits, which the federal government first put in place to help people through the pandemic, and are set to expire in September.
Other residents, such as Phil Nestor, who owns Brenda’s Backwoods Grill in Parsons, and Scott Meyer, who is a local glass artist in Davis, worried about the fact that many young people don’t know how to count change, or change a tire.
Several residents also alluded to racism as a major problem America is facing, but claimed that it’s white people who are being treated unfairly. Snyder said she feels there is “too much bitterness over the past,” while Sims said the country is “going crazy” with respect to the Black Lives Matter movement. He said that Black Lives Matter is not representative of all Black people, and “has white people thinking they’re bad. What did I do?” Sims wondered, noting that he does not hate Black or Hispanic people.
Virtually all interviewees said that they miss Donald Trump, and disapprove of the job President Joe Biden is doing, although Nestor said he acknowledges Biden’s “heart is in the right place,” especially concerning issues like healthcare.
Devin Whitmore, a 17 year-old student from Hambleton, also gave President Biden a “half good, half bad” rating, noting that President Biden “wants to switch West Virginia to electric energy.” As Whitmore observed, while transitioning away from coal may be bad for jobs in the short term, “it will help the earth, so that’s why I say half bad half good. I’m not really into politics though, “cautioned Whitmore. “I’m just trying to get a car.”
When asked what they miss most about Trump, most residents replied gas prices. Gas is currently over $3 a gallon in many parts of the U.S. However, it should be noted that, contrary to popular belief, presidents have very little immediate control over gas prices. The last time gas was over $3 a gallon according to the Energy Information Association was in 2018, during the second year of President Trump’s term. While gas prices did fall during his administration, reaching a low of $2.25 in 2020, this was a result of falling demand for travel due to the pandemic rather than any action Trump took. Now that people are traveling again, demand is rising, thus spurring gas prices higher.
All told, while most Tucker County residents interviewed took a grim view of the direction America is headed in, they all said they were proud to be Americans. Whitmore said he appreciates the fact that “we have more freedoms here than other countries do,” although, he noted, “It would be cool to have a British accent.” Meyer noted the last four letters of American spell “I can,” but said it was a shame they don’t spell “U can.”