by Maitri Pamo
The mud was in my hands. I was ready to fling it and watch it land at the feet of my accused. In their quest to flex their myopic muscle, some legislators in Congress — just imagine their affiliated party — had been pushing to have much of the authority of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) curtailed due to those pesky environmental regulations.
Those troublesome rules in place to safeguard our drinking water and air quality, well, those inconvenient little controls are limiting our production! We need to stamp down on that hippy, tree-hugging EPA so that we can create more jobs and help our nation’s economy to grow. How else are we going to be able to keep spending the trillions of dollars that the war machine needs to be fed to keep it marching? And then we have all those failing school systems, the poverty in the U.S., the growing disparity between the wealthy and everyone else. Yes, let’s focus on the EPA. Logical.
Then it happened: the president bowed, surprising and infuriating many, by starting his own stranglehold on the EPA. It may be cynical to state that the president, seeing the economy faltering and the labor market stagnant, has adopted a broad spectrum approach to doing something, anything, to appear to be fighting the financial miasma that grips the U.S. However, is not lowering the expectations for what we find acceptable in our environment the classic cutting off your nose to spite your face?
While fleeing the hurricane, my family and I were forced to take refuge in a hotel in one of the southern states. When Irene daintily passed our spot, the wide-spread power outages prompted an announcement from the hotel management advising us not to drink the water from the faucets and to try to “keep cool” as we baked in our rooms. As we gathered in the hot, dark hotel lobby, I heard one tall, lovingly overfed gentleman laugh that we were now living in a “third world country.” Assuming from his speech and attire that his cultural references are probably Bud Light and the local Walmart, he has probably never actually been to a so called “third world country.”
In my experience, one of the most evident facts of being in a developing nation is the environmental degradation that is a daily burden in these places. I enjoy clean air and water and am happy that there is an agency in the U.S. that monitors industry effects on the environment. Job creation is crucial. Obviously. But are we willing to risk the long-term health and safety of our families (the good of all) for the paltry number of jobs (the good of the few) that will be produced by limiting the EPA watchdog? Are we here to live our lives or to be fodder for the corporations who want to rule the country?
Staff writer, Maitri Pamo.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are solely those of
the author and should not be understood to be shared by Being Latino, Inc.