Mountain Advocate

Lots of people all across the country are quick to point out how “poor and disadvantaged” we are in Eastern Kentucky.  Facts clearly show we have a high rate of poverty. 2,000+ children in Knox County alone are food insecure. And our lower incomes, combined with our lifestyle choices, contribute to us having a very high rate for many serious health issues. Our situation can be quite depressing, especially, if you only focus on the negative.

But as an article I read recently pointed out, we in Knox County are all, in many ways, better off today than America’s first billionaire, John D. Rockefeller, was at his best.  

Sure Rockefeller had billions of dollars. But while he owned multiple houses, none had central heating or air conditioning. He and his family sweated profusely all summer, and were often cold in the winter. He had no television to watch. We can stream movies, download TV shows or watch our favorite sports live from miles away on HD big screens.  He could listen to music on scratchy vinyl records. We enjoy high fidelity, amazing quality sound today on even the simplest headphones or ear buds. He had cars, but they lacked comfortable seats, had almost no safety features like the air bags, and of course there was no GPS navigation options, cruise control, or even climate control. He had no cell phone. He could not order something from far away and have it delivered the next day, because there was no Internet, no Google, or FedEx. He and his family feared many fatal, infectious diseases that modern medicine has eradicated for us. And his life expectancy was much lower than ours.  As the author of the article noted, “Even most Americans living under the poverty line today have central heat and air, indoor plumbing, a microwave, a smartphone, a flat-panel TV, Wi-Fi and a car.”

Plus, I think we live in an absolutely beautiful part of the country. We have some wonderful people in our community that look out for and care about each other.

So, believe it or not, by many, many standards, in Knox County today we are better off than America’s first billionaire!


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