The Democrats are holding another debate tonight. The Republicans have all gathered in South Carolina where dirty tricks are aplenty. The Water Crisis in Flint MI continues and only the Democrats have even mentioned it.
However, Flint, Michigan is just the tip of the iceberg. There are thousands of communities just one bad decision away from a similar disaster. Our infrastructure is crumbling in front of us. There are millions of miles of lead pipes in the ground being used to ship water to homes. Even worse, there are still thousands upon thousands of older homes that are still covered in lead paint.
Lead is a very dangerous metal. It gets into the blood stream and causes havoc in the body. IQ can be decreased by lead. Behavioral problems like hyperactivity in children and cardiac problems in adults can become the norm.
Scientists and doctors all agree there is “no safe level of lead” in the blood. A pinhead full of lead is enough to kill a child. Yet, lead is all around us. Still, no one is really doing anything about the problem.
Let’s face some simple facts. Our infrastructure was created around the turn of the century. The turn of the twentieth century. Some of our water pipes have been in the ground for over 150 years. When those lead pipes were placed, we were told it was safe.
You all know the phrase “crazy as a mad hatter”. That came about because hat makers used to use lead to firm up the bills of hats. The workers were poisoned by the lead they were using. They weren’t crazy, they were dying.
In the 1920s tetraethyl lead was added to gasoline. A representative of Ethyl Corporation, a company formed by GM, Standard Oil, and Dupont called it a “gift from God”. Despite warnings that this lead could pollute the entire planet, which it did, it took three-quarters of a century for it to be banned in gasoline in the U.S.
In the meantime, millions of metric tons of lead polluted our soil and water. It entered our bodies through the simple act of breathing. But, automakers didn’t want any “knocks” in you engine and fought hard to keep it legal to put in gasoline.
Other gasoline additives have poisoned the water supply in many communities in our country. Yet, nothing is being done to stop the madness. Yes, there are some “safety standards” on how to handle lead, but it is still poisoning our children and us.
What makes matters worse, is our politicians don’t seem to think that it is important to have a discussion about it. The Republican side thinks that climate change is not happening. They despise science in general. And, the Democrats seem to be letting them off the hook on the subject.
Without real public discourse, we will never be able to confront and fix our problems. The other day the Supreme Court voted along political lines to suspend the President’s new clean air regulations until it was settled in court. Republicans hailed the decision as the “right thing to do” to stop the “President’s overreach”.
There has been a Transportation and Infrastructure Bill languishing in the House of Representatives for seven years. That bill is designed to redo our infrastructure like the electric grid and water distribution. But, Republicans don’t even want to talk about it, much less vote on it.
Republicans are great at talking about small government and fiscal responsibility. They are loath to talk about moral responsibility to protect the citizens from pollution. It is the responsibility of our governments to ensure our safety. It is their responsibility to make sure that our drinking water, our soil, our air is free from the pollutants that will kill us.
It doesn’t matter where you live, or how rich you are. The chances are your children and you yourself are being poisoned by lead and other toxins. These pollutants are in our water, the food we eat, and the air we breath. As a country, we are just one bad decision or “mistake” from having a national crisis on our hands.
During this election, the candidates don’t want to talk about it very much. The media doesn’t want to talk about it either. That is why you don’t hear any questions about these problems during the debates. Especially the Republican debates.
We often hear about “American Exceptionalism” from the conservative side. What we don’t hear about is “American Legacy” from them. Is that because the American Legacy is that we have allowed ourselves to be poisoned? Have we degraded to the point where the almighty dollar is more important than our and our children’s lives?
We have had a century where we were told it wasn’t the oil companies fault, it wasn’t the chemical companies fault, it wasn’t the paint companies fault, it wasn’t the electrical companies fault, it is all our fault.
We shouldn’t let our children ingest lead paint. We shouldn’t let our children play in the polluted dirt. Air pollution is something we need to keep our utility bills lower. Basically, we have been ignored and poisoned so companies can keep making money even if it kills us.
Without forcing our politicians to talk about these issues they will continue. They will get worse. The next Water Crisis may be in your city. It may be your children that are being poisoned. The thing is, they probably already are, and you don’t even know about it.
Maybe this is the real reason the Affordable Care Act is so toxic to Republicans. By allowing corporations to poison our environment, our medical costs will sky-rocket. By eliminating the ACA they can continue to put the blame on us.
These problems can be fixed. We have the technology to improve our infrastructure. We have the knowledge of what to do. But, it will cost money. That means taxes may have to go up, especially for the corporations who are the polluters. That is something Republicans say cannot happen.
By doing this work, millions of good paying jobs would be created. The government would see revenue increase due to the extra taxes the jobs would create. This is a win-win for our nation. Still, Republicans are not willing to “invest” in our lives and our children’s lives. That is totally irresponsible.
It is time for America to wake up to the facts. Republican environmental policies are killing our children. That is their legacy to the American Century they seem to love so much.