FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

Health, Safety, Toxicity . . . and Elections

Caring for the health and safety of our children and families is common ground where Americans on the left and the right meet. Yet, during this election cycle, few candidates seem willing to talk about the health and safety risks caused by toxic industries. Instead, the false split between environment and jobs is used to divide people . . . and to allow major corporations to continue to poison our children.

But after a month of horror stories – pipeline ruptures in Louisiana, Texas, and the breaking news of North Dakota’s largest oil spill in state history; plus a deadly gas explosion in Maryland and the evacuation of residents because of massive lead poisoning in East Chicago, Indiana – liberals and libertarians alike should be questioning their assumptions about the role our government does – or should – play in regulating industry.

Liberals need a sharp wake-up call about the realities of the corporate-oligarchic government (Big Gov, as the conservatives and libertarians like to call it). Rather than fulfilling the ideals of a powerful body that protects the health and safety of the people, the corporate-political collusion manages to bend, break, and manipulate every law on the books to increase their profits at the expense of our safety. If government is supposed to protect us, it’s failing its duties.

Libertarians need to drop their fantasies of a deregulated state, and instead, do some soul-searching to come up with a reasonable explanation for how our children will be kept safe from these powerful industries that have demonstrated over and over their willingness to poison our children for the sake of their profits.

As for our “family values conservatives,” the question to ponder is: if you love your families so much, why, for God’s sake, do you allow your political candidates to neglect the health and safety of your children by refusing to support higher standards of air and water quality controls? Why do you allow them to thwart attempts to introduce legislation to protect the land, rivers, and oceans that your children’s food comes from? Why do you disregard the need for basic health and safety regulations on toxic industries?

In this year’s election cycle, there has been a notable silence about the health and safety risks caused by industries like oil, gas, coal, mining, and manufacturing. Why? Because politicians can get away with caring more about the profits of their corporate sponsors than the wellbeing of your children. They’ve been allowed to parrot the false claim that “what’s good for business is good for everyone.” (Which is obviously not true for the lead-poisoned residents of East Chicago, Indiana.) We’ve allowed the politicians to dupe us into believing that jobs are the silver-bullet solution to all of our social woes. Plenty of jobs do not poison and pollute. Those that do are not worthy work.

There is no job on Earth that justifies the poisoning of our children. There is no amount of money that we can gain from jobs that can pay the price of our children’s lost health. There are no jobs that are worth the cost of the ever-increasing amount of United States soil and water that is contaminated with toxins. We have 1322 Superfund sites, and numerous other toxic locations. The Yellowstone River, the Kalamazoo River in Michigan, the Animas and San Juan Rivers in New Mexico, the Dan River in North Carolina, the Elk River in West Virginia have all been heavily contaminated in recent years. How much more of this assault can the health of our people and our land sustain?

We need our politicians to stop ignoring or glossing over these concerns. Left and right should stand united on this issue. The health of our nation’s children must be put before profits. The sanctity and vitality of our air, land, and water that keeps us alive comes before the interests of rich and powerful individuals. Our politicians must take a stand now, not during the next election cycle. Now, before it is too late. Now, before one more child is poisoned.

More articles by:

Rivera Sun is the author of The Dandelion Insurrection and other books, and the cofounder of the Love-In-Action Network.

Weekend Edition
September 21, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Alexandra Isfahani-Hammond
Hurricane Florence and 9.7 Million Pigs
Andrew Levine
Israel’s Anti-Semitism Smear Campaign
Paul Street
Laquan McDonald is Being Tried for His Own Racist Murder
Brad Evans
What Does It Mean to Celebrate International Peace Day?
Nick Pemberton
With or Without Kavanaugh, The United States Is Anti-Choice
Jim Kavanagh
“Taxpayer Money” Threatens Medicare-for-All (And Every Other Social Program)
Jonathan Cook
Palestine: The Testbed for Trump’s Plan to Tear up the Rules-Based International Order
Jeffrey St. Clair
Roaming Charges: the Chickenhawks Have Finally Come Back Home to Roost!
David Rosen
As the Capitalist World Turns: From Empire to Imperialism to Globalization?
Jonah Raskin
Green Capitalism Rears Its Head at Global Climate Action Summit
James Munson
On Climate, the Centrists are the Deplorables
Robert Hunziker
Is Paris 2015 Already Underwater?
Arshad Khan
Will Their Ever be Justice for Rohingya Muslims?
Jill Richardson
Why Women Don’t Report Sexual Assault
Dave Clennon
A Victory for Historical Accuracy and the Peace Movement: Not One Emmy for Ken Burns and “The Vietnam War”
W. T. Whitney
US Harasses Cuba Amid Mysterious Circumstances
Nathan Kalman-Lamb
Things That Make Sports Fans Uncomfortable
George Capaccio
Iran: “Snapping Back” Sanctions and the Threat of War
Kenneth Surin
Brexit is Coming, But Which Will It Be?
Louis Proyect
Moore’s “Fahrenheit 11/9”: Entertaining Film, Crappy Politics
Ramzy Baroud
Why Israel Demolishes: Khan Al-Ahmar as Representation of Greater Genocide
Ben Dangl
The Zapatistas’ Dignified Rage: Revolutionary Theories and Anticapitalist Dreams of Subcommandante Marcos
Ron Jacobs
Faith, Madness, or Death
Bill Glahn
Crime Comes Knocking
Terry Heaton
Pat Robertson’s Hurricane “Miracle”
Dave Lindorff
In Montgomery County PA, It’s Often a Jury of White People
Louis Yako
From Citizens to Customers: the Corporate Customer Service Culture in America 
William Boardman
The Shame of Dianne Feinstein, the Courage of Christine Blasey Ford 
Ernie Niemi
Logging and Climate Change: Oregon is Appalachia and Timber is Our Coal
Jessicah Pierre
Nike Says “Believe in Something,” But Can It Sacrifice Something, Too?
Paul Fitzgerald - Elizabeth Gould
Weaponized Dreams? The Curious Case of Robert Moss
Olivia Alperstein
An Environmental 9/11: the EPA’s Gutting of Methane Regulations
Ted Rall
Why Christine Ford vs. Brett Kavanaugh is a Train Wreck You Can’t Look Away From
Lauren Regan
The Day the Valves Turned: Defending the Pipeline Protesters
Ralph Nader
Questions, Questions Where are the Answers?
Binoy Kampmark
Deplatforming Germaine Greer
Raouf Halaby
It Should Not Be A He Said She Said Verdict
Robert Koehler
The Accusation That Wouldn’t Go Away
Jim Hightower
Amazon is Making Workers Tweet About How Great It is to Work There
Robby Sherwin
Rabbi, Rabbi, Where For Art Thou Rabbi?
Vern Loomis
Has Something Evil This Way Come?
Steve Baggarly
Disarm Trident Walk Ends in Georgia
Graham Peebles
Priorities of the Time: Peace
Michael Doliner
The Department of Demonization
David Yearsley
Bollocks to Brexit: the Plumber Sings
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail