As many of you have figured out by now I am deeply troubled by this year’s election choices and coverage and as a result have tried to tune a lot of it out. It’s just too depressing to focus on.
We live in a beautiful country, but the beauty hides serious problems. This afternoon I took a walk, during a break in the rain, through town to get a close up view of the beauty that autumn brings. While enjoying the sights and smells a sadness fell over me.
I wondered how long we would still be able to enjoy the beauty of nature. Will my grandchildren have the same experiences I’ve enjoyed throughout my life? What about their children? Native Americans believe that before taking any action one should think seven generations into the future. Should our actions today harm the seventh generation then we should not follow through on those actions.
That said, when the dust settles down after our national election next week let’s work to make the government choose We the People and make right the wrongs in our communities.
Dakota Access Pipeline. Force the next President to do what’s right. Regardless of whether or not a pipeline goes through there needs to be studies to protect the people, sacred sites and the water that feeds millions.
Clean Water. The problems in Flint, Michigan have been told not only in the US but around the world. In a nation that prides itself on having the best not having safe water should not have happened. What few know is that Flint’s water isn’t the only public water system poisoned by lead. In Pittsburgh, one community’s water supply is considered more dangerous than Flint’s and I’m positive that if we have toxic water in two communities hundreds of miles apart there are more communities with unsafe drinking water.
Fracking Wastes. Hillary Clinton, much to my surprise, stated in the last debate that the US is now energy independent. Her reasoning would have to be that because of fracking we now export as much fuel as we import? What is left out of the political discussion is that with fracking comes polluted soil and water. Fracking injections sites have been known since the 1960s to cause earthquakes. After hundreds of earthquakes, 800 in 2015 alone in Oklahoma the state voted to ban the dumping of fracking waste water,to reduce quakes. The waste water has to go somewhere, so now the plans are to dump that polluted water into the Gulf of Mexico.
Roads and Bridges. In communities across this country roads and bridges are decaying. Small towns are letting roads return to gravel rather than repave and some bridges, such as the famous Liberty Bridge in Pittsburgh have huge nets under them where the Beachwood Bridge also in Pittsburgh a bridge under the bridge has been erected for the sole purpose to prevent falling debris from causing damages to passing vehicles underneath. CBS reports that 70,000 bridges in the US are “structurally deficient”.
Healthcare: Millions of Americans are without healthcare, or at least an affordable plan. Just this week my son and daughter-in-law called me separately to vent. They received notification that their premiums were going to increase by $600 dollars a month and their deductible will be $3,500 per year. For those of you not familiar with our insurance plans this means my son will be paying over $1,000 per month to have health insurance (way more than his mortgage and utilities combined) and even with insurance the first $3,500 of medical expenses will have to be paid out of pocket before his insurance will cover any of it. In addition the plan does not cover vision or dental. My daughter-in-law, half in jest, commented “we don’t need to eat every month”.
The Antidote to Despair is Action
I could go on and on about the problems I see that need addressed. My hope is that the activism that is fighting the Dakota Access Pipeline will spread to force the hand of our officials to make our infrastructure, including drinking water and safe transportation a priority before plans such as building walls on our borders.
In case you were wondering, I didn’t make it back home before the skies opened up and began to pour down on me. That’s okay too. As I dried off at home I realized the rain brought a bit of the wonderful scent that is autumn inside with me on my wet clothes and found myself not so sad for a few minutes.