By Mike Shiloh October 25, 2020 -- "Everybody knows oil companies are getting bad publicity because they've always been a powerful voice of conservatism and the left wants to shatter them into pieces because they're conservative, but nobody's talking about it, so the campaign against oil just goes on. "I've been watching this play [out] over decades and I'm convinced...one of the main goals of the left in America is wiping out conservatism and oil companies have stood in their way for a long time." My talk with this former oil patch worker was a little startling because he was so blunt but passionate about his position. "Some people actually want us to believe that the Houston oil refineries are purposely harming minorities and the lower classes who live nearby, I see the articles in the papers, but I remember when the people who lived close by to refineries were largely middle class people of all kinds, many of them just moved out because of the inevitable bad air that comes from refining oil along the Gulf Coast, with the breezes and no breezes and humidity and all. "The people moved out, the housing prices dropped a lot and poorer people moved in, but 60 years ago many of those houses were even homes to oil executives who wanted a house close to work. "Why, I used to go see my friends and the kids would play in a Deer Park neighborhood where all kinds of oil workers lived, but by the '70s they were moving out as Houston and air pollution grew, but then a lot of regulations were made to fight off that pollution. "I think the government now ought to buy up all those houses near the refineries and turn the properties into parks and restore the greenery, but I don't hear the environmental people calling for that." This man said he just wanted me to see another side to some issues involving oil and gas politics, and I promised him I wouldn't name him (hey, if unnamed sources are okay with the New York Times I'm not too proud to join in, I told him, and got him to smile a little). He said he just wants to live his life quietly in retirement, but it angers him to see his experiences and observations twisted these days. "They even want us to believe that the people who work in oil today deliberately destroyed the environment 70 years ago, never minding that the people who were in charge then are probably all dead. "There were bad guys, but there were a lot of good guys too, some of them were ignorant. "What about the people in non-oil chemical work and waste hauling and all that stuff, I don't see Democrats trashing landfill servicers and the like the way they do oil. "And they even want us to believe that oil companies are now just as bad as tobacco [companies] were 50 years ago, but smoking didn't keep our lights on or make tires for our cars or fertilizers for...for feeding the world. "It just tears me up to see this, because when I was young you could get a good-paying job and support your family with oil jobs around Houston and it was wide open, you could get your friends a job. "Now, not that it was great in oil patch, it was low pay getting those derricks up, damn hard work and you'd come home covered in oil and grease, but if you worked hard there was pride and community in it and your pay would go up and the dependable people made good money. "Now it's all over the place, oil is big international now and a lot of that local thing is gone, but helped me and a lot of others raise kids and the like. "It just seems like today's leftist Democrats are hell-bent on wiping out anything that represents the strong conservatives of yesteryear, and oil companies have that, that reputation. "Even the conservationists seem like destroying oil companies is a top priority, like if the environment is hurting it's important, but if it's hurting and oil companies can be blamed in any way, it's urgent news and like more proof that the companies are bad people. "I just mean, I think the environmental people care a lot about nature, but when you see them pushing for political stuff that has nothing to do with environments, it just gets obvious that they have more on their minds than nature. "And everyone I've worked with, they're just people...I never knew anyone who set out to hurt the land, nobody ever told me, 'go dump that grease in a lake or pour that runoff in that river down the road.' I asked him if perhaps he was being too harsh on environmentalists and he waved me off. "I remember when the environmental people got started in the '70s or so and they really seemed to want to make things better, but now it all just seems political. "It just makes me so mad because there's nobody, nobody left who remembers what it was like before we had all this, all this technological stuff and was just using the tools and spudding and hauling and making all these long, long drives for the companies. "They don't remember, nobody remembers that we were just doing the best we knew how to make money and deliver a resource for people for their cars and to power the plants like the one off old Main Street and there was plenty of work if you wanted to work and you knew people needed your output, the refineries, the people made the world a better place with heating oil and transportation and all that. "Now it's like people want to blame us for not being as smart as people are now, and I'm not sure people are any smarter now, just meaner, like they want to find someone to blame for things. "No, they're shooting themselves in the foot..you can have all the sun and wind in the world but the way things are you can't do without oil and gas and you can't go out tomorrow and get it because it takes good money to drill and transport and there's distribution. "And now this climate change, global...people want to blame the world's problems on what we did...and I for one won't take that blame, it's so much nonsense and I mean that. "They want to destroy something that's helped give America and the world prosperity? "These people just don't know [what they're doing]. So why am I chronicling what this gentleman told me in conversation? Because it's one thing to look back on the past and condemn it based on today's knowledge and principles but it's another to have survived the experience itself. "It was dog-eat-dog in the '40s and '50s, like if you had a job there were five other people out of work who would take your place, even in the roustabout days when they just needed manpower. "But it was hard work! People would come home with welding-spark blisters on their arms and rips in their clothes from getting that oil and gas out and the pipelines running and moving this and moving that." He shook his head as he finished telling me his story, with "people today don't know any better and they are just getting a load of bull about what it was like in my day, how bad the business was and is and they're believing it and it's wrong." This man's story is important for me to chronicle because respect is due for anyone who's raised a family and made a tough living during tough times -- no matter what -- and because experience speaks volumes. And because no one else is.