The Dam Truth

The powers that be in this country are very good at one thing – ignoring the plight of the poor. In fact, you could make a case that they are very good at ignoring the fact of the poor as well. This Spring the flooding in the Midwest has brought to my attention the reality that it isn’t the squeaky gear that gets the grease, but rather the moneyed gear that gets the grease.

When hurricane Katrina devastated New Orleans there were some very vocal folks who claimed that our government’s virtually non-existent response to that disaster was motivated by racism. While I would never deny that racism is a problem in this country, my trip through the Midwest last week has convinced me that the real issue is, in fact, an economic and political system that couldn’t give the tiniest little damn about the poor. For example, parts of Missouri have been flooded since February- and not the kind of flooding that just floods basements, but the kind that submerges entire homes and closes streets under eight feet of water for months. I guess that part of the world isn’t very romantic to the media so we don’t see much coverage. The truth is that these people’s lives have been devastated.

Where is Geraldo Rivera? Just last weekend Geraldo interviewed someone from the Army Corps of Engineers about the practice of building damns and levees along the Mississippi and Missouri Rivers and the effect of that practice on water levels. Certainly those are valid questions, but where are the media when we have rural areas under water? I know it isn’t very sexy, but it’s no less tragic – and my suspicion is that the same greed that motivates folks to dam the Mississippi causes them to place dams in rural areas to attempt to create tourism. Meanwhile the people a few miles away are under water and there is nowhere for that water to drain, thanks to our engineering. Meanwhile those who are well to do continue to build homes in, frankly, stupid places and continue to party at water parks while the economically disadvantaged are submerged in the morally bankrupt system wherein the poor are subjugated to a subhuman status.

It’s called evil, and it isn’t washed away by money.

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