Most of us learn constantly and often, and the new knowledge we pick up alters our opinions. East Ohio and West Virginia residents have reason to be thankful for that phenomenon - the process of maturing.
We can be grateful the Republican candidate for president, former Mass. Gov. Mitt Romney, has learned much since the days when he publicly questioned coal as a pillar of national energy policy. We can be even more thankful Romney's views have matured to the point he understands the importance of coal not just to miners and their families but also to tens of millions of other Americans.
Romney is scheduled to visit East Ohio today as part of his campaign to unseat President Barack Obama. Here in this region of the country, the GOP standard-bearer should receive a warm welcome.
Residents of this area realize how critical the coal industry is to the well-being of the entire nation - and in a very direct sense, to many families throughout the country. Without the reasonably priced electricity coal provides, some manufacturers, in industries including aluminum, simply will not be able to compete.
For more than three years, Obama and liberals in Congress have been waging what we often have termed a war against coal. It is much worse than that, however. In effect, the White House and radical lawmakers have opened an assault on the very quality of life enjoyed by all Americans whose electricity comes from coal-fired power plants.
Understanding the complex, evolving linkages between our economy and coal can be difficult. Early in his public service career, Romney may not have understood the role of coal fully.
Now the Obama campaign is attempting somehow to portray Romney as an enemy of East Ohioans and West Virginians, because of some of his statements made years ago.
It won't work. Both Romney and Obama have changed - but there is a vast difference in how. Romney has matured in his understanding of the coal industry and yes, manufacturing as a whole.
Meanwhile, Obama has intensified his assault on coal. Jobs already are being lost because of his administration's actions. More - many more - Americans will suffer if the president remains in office to persist in chipping away at the American way of life.
So today, thousands of Ohio Valley residents will welcome Romney to our area, understanding the clear, present danger to our futures is President Barack Obama's administration.