Since the cliche holds that there's no such thing, Pearlstein's logic deserves scrutiny. And when scrutinized, that logic reveals a hole big enough for passage of a Mack truck hauling a big trailer full of lobbyists.
The proposal is still early in the permit-seeking process, but the tiny, destitute town and its surrounding population have already formed staunch and angry Pro- and Anti- groups. The article suggests that, most unfortunately, these groups are noticeably arranged along racial lines.
If all goes as planned, the plant's twin 650-foot emission stacks - nearly 100 feet taller than the Washington Monument - will rise just behind the backyards of Main Street. Where tranquil woods now stand, bulldozers will muscle mounds of fly ash that will rival Mount Trashmore in Virginia Beach. Each week, more than 500 boxcars of coal will clatter in around the clock.While it's tempting to start trying to explain this apparent phenomenon, that seems unwise. Pushing this story into a pre-existing narrative formed by the local and national history of racial politics is unlikely to isolate or clarify anything useful about the specific issue of whether this plant ought to be built, and whether it ought to be built in Dendron.
The dilemma cleaved Dendron largely along racial lines, a fact residents say they hate to mention, but then do. The community, roughly half black and half white, had a long history of getting along - until blacks saw the plant as opportunity and whites saw it as disaster.
Suddenly, conversations grew testy between old friends. "Yes" and "no" signs were swiped out of yards. Mundane town meetings turned into accusation-filled marathons.