If you think that businesses will police themselves and don’t need regulations, Google Love Canal, the Cuyahoga River fire, the Woburn, Massachusetts groundwater contamination, the Gowanus Canal in NYC- these things aren’t just stories of the past. They represent a warning to us now that big business is really only interested in the bottom line. They have statistics about how much damage and loss they can weather without affecting profits. There has been an element in the GOP that either doesn’t remember that, understand it, or (worse yet) don’t care about it. It’s always about the money and not the people with them. Some argue that they are more likely to do the right thing because if they kill people, their businesses will fail. That’s almost laughable if it wasn’t so sad.
Have you ever seen a commercial about mesothilioma? The disease you get from asbestos exposure? When do you think businesses knew that asbestos was a carcinogen? Go ahead. Guess. If I told you that when I was working at a major law firm in the southeast we had a “war room” (a room dedicated to files and evidence about cases) entirely consisting of asbestos cases and that it was during the 1980s, you might think, “well, they got to it as soon as they could.” But you would be wrong. Industry and doctors knew the correlation between asbestos and lung damage goes back to 1899. The US Department of Labor saiid in 1918 that the danger asbestos posed needed urgent study. Businesses lobbied against these studies. But people kept dying and it wasn’t until the 1930 in Britain that studies were done and some safety measures were enacted. Through the 1960s while big business opposed studies and refused to enact safety measures on their own, doctors debated on the “safe” levels of asbestos exposure. And businesses tried to control the dust. People kept dying, all for the sake of money. As the years passed people began bringing lawsuits against railroads and shipyards, mining operations and mills. It was insidious, and industry wanted to hide it, settle out of court, deny facts that had been around for almost a century. That’s how business works when unregulated. They pollute and hope that their profits make up for the loss of life, disease, and human misery they cause.
Trump and his cronies are not concerned about clean water, safe food, an educated population. What they care about is money plain and simple. Not good health or smart children. They care about the bottom line and enriching themselves beyond anyone’s wildest dreams. So if you vote GOP and you don’t care about the environment, I weep for your children. They will have to live with the misery greed and power will most certainly foist on us all. I read about Rep. Dave Brat (R-Va) said quite flippantly that the riches liked clean water and air. He said the solution to the problem was to get rich. Well, folks, there is a finite amount of wealth to go around. The rich keep getting richer thanks to the GOP and Wall Street, but the middle class has stagnated and fallen into lower incomes. It’s because the wealthy hold the money so there is not enough to cover the rest of us. It’s not as simple as the rich “trickling down” their wealth on the poorer population. They are working on a stacked deck with the money concentrated at the top. How do you think people like Trump got so filthy rich? Hint: They didn’t get that way by sharing. They will never let their money go, and neither will big business or Wall Street.
Is it a bad thing to be rich? Maybe. Jesus sure didn’t have nice things to say about them despite Joel “Prosperity Gospel” Osteen’s proclamations otherwise. But I’m not debating that personal wealth does bring a certain amount of comfort. But with CEO salaries skyrocketing, and lower wages stagnating, who do you think is getting more money because they have literally bought legislation that is friendly to lining their own pockets? And if you are waiting for industry and business to regulate itself for the common good, you will be waiting a long time. The people that voted for Trump learned absolutely nothing from history, and what they have learned has been altered by conservatives to mean something that it is not. There is a reason why they want your kids stupid and uninformed. There’s a reason why they plant the seeds of doubt in their followers about “intellectual elitists” and how foreigners are to blame for their lack of jobs, or, shockingly enough, terrorism attacking the American way of life. They encourage discord because it is in discord that they can get richer and richer until we are no more than serfs. They have invaded the evangelical Christian community with their “us and them” philosophy, and it is all to enrich themselves, hide the truth, and rend power from the people.
God help us all.