I remember driving through New York City in 1965 on the way to visit family. The air was yellow and it burned our eyes and made our noses itch. By the time we reached southern New Jersey
our two year old was sick. After treating her ourselves for 24 hours we took her to a doctor who diagnosed her with pneumonia. She spent 10 days in the hospital, much of the time inside a plastic tent. She was ill as a result of all the pollutants in the air she was breathing.
Government regulations for Clean Air resolved the problem. Donald Trump’s negating all those regulations will result in other two year olds ill with pneumonia. The additional question now will be, however, will their parents have Health Insurance?
In the mid-1990s, Joe and I visited the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland. (Having grown up in Philadelphia, I never really came to grips with the choice of Cleveland over Philadelphia, but that’s a different story.) Cleveland was a modern city with a lot of amenities. The Hall of Fame was right down at the Lake Erie waterfront, just outside of Downtown Cleveland. At the time we were there, the new Cleveland Brown’s Stadium was just getting ready to open right there by the Hall of Fame. There was a cool train that carried people from Downtown to the waterfront with stops at the Stadium and the Hall of Fame, and the waterfront was crowded with tourists. We spoke to a native Clevelander who talked about that fact that, at about the same time our daughter became ill from breathing the polluted air in New York City, Lake Erie was often on fire. Waste oil along with God knows what else was being dumped into Lake Erie by Corporations, and the water actually burned.
Government regulations for Clean Air and Water resolved the problems, allowing us to have a wonderful visit to Cleveland 30 or so years later and to enjoy the beauty of Lake Erie and all the things that enhanced the waterfront. Donald Trump is negating all the regulations that turned around the City of Cleveland and many other similar cities. Sadly, because if Donald Trump and the Republicans are not stopped, in 30 years Lake Erie will likely burn again.
Donald Trump, and his band of “deconstructers” led by Steve Bannon is working hard to, among other things, destroy the improvements in our environment that we have taken for granted over the last forty years. Our air has been clean in most places and our water has been largely free of pollutants, a great improvement over the early part of the 20th century. Our medications have undergone trials to make them as safe as possible, and our cars run on less fuel and pollute the air much less. Unfortunately, these things are changing quickly thanks to the Republican mantra that Corporations must be free of unwanted regulations and that Business must be able to act as it pleases to assure maximum profit. Trump’s Administration is putting the Republican destruction of Regulations on fast forward. The stock market is soaring upwards, anticipating maximum profits under the Trump Administration, even though the country is in the worst condition since Hoover left office.
The mid-term elections in 2018 will either turn the direction of this country back toward reasonable regulation to protect the environment and the health of the citizens or increase the power of the corporations at the expense of clean air and water. Hopefully Democrats and rational independents, as well as Republicans who are horrified at what their Party has done will vote to reject the Republican vision. If not, we are doomed to live in the world of Paul Ryan’s hero, Ayn Rand – the world of the Almighty Dollar.