September 14, 2012
A visit to the Owsley County, KY website shows a flowing waterfall and touts the area as “A Great Place to Live and Work.” But according to the 2010 Census, it is the poorest county in the nation, with a median household income of $19,351. Wikipedia has the median income listed as $15,805. More than 41% of all residents fall below the poverty line.
Settled sometime around 1780, the area has a deep, proud history of self-sustainability through subsistence farming, trapping and hunting, and, being in the heart of Appalachia, moonshining. But based on photos taken by Discovery channel, you’d never know it.
Located about a day’s drive from where I live now, Owsley County looks like the kind of place I’d rather be. Tucked away in the mountains overlooking rolling fields; Google images gives me an immediate sense of privacy and the desire to do some good, hard work outdoors. I envision canning jars lining my pantry shelves and venison jerky in the dehydrator. I see a small, simple house with a Franklin stove. What I don’t see in my vision is the government.
But in 2009, government benefits accounted for over 53% of personal income in Owsley County. Given the recent rise in food stamp use, and the number of increasing jobless, I can’t help but wonder if the rest of rural America is headed the way of Owsley County. Discovery photographers show us Mose Noble, a former chimney sweep who, despite government and neighborly assistance, has no running water or electricity. His trailer’s kitchen is strewn with dishes and filth. Is this Obama’s vision of hope? Is this what Romney sees as the “fulfillment of the American dream” of home ownership?
Read the rest of Elise’s article at the Planet.Infowars.com social network.