News

What do we do then?

By MOLLY RUSH

Let’s suppose that the Democrats regain control of the House and Senate this year and the presidency in 2020. The question that torments me is this. What will it take to undo the damage done by this Administration?

Consider what has happened to major departments such as the Environmental Protection Agency. Key scientists fired. Much data collection eliminated. Harvard Law School has identified 27 dozen key rules that were reversed, including fracking on federal and Indian lands that could lead to 89,000 extra deaths and over a million who will suffer with respiratory problems.

Clean air, clean water, protection for endangered species and from toxic chemicals are just a few of the safeguards that protect our health. Without those safeguards we risk the very future of the planet.

The Department of Energy had standards to protect us from dirty bomb explosions, electric grid attacks, deadly radioactive leakages, the ability to track nuclear weapons, as well as deadly emissions. The National Weather Service tracks hurricanes, saving countless lives. Studies by Health & Human Services, among many others, helped identify the spike in opioid addiction. All killed.

Rants against regulation have proven very effective. Industry lobbyists within and without the Government provided the fuel that polluted the system.

Can even the best efforts by a progressive government put Humpty Dumpty together again? It will take digging by the media and the experts who helped put these reforms in place, as well as education, sufficient funding, pushback on politicians and corporations to recognize their own self-interest – plus hard work by the general public (that’s you and me) to put us on what I hope may be a difficult but urgent path that, unfortunately, will take time.

The reality is we have no choice. The lives of future generations depend on us.

Molly Rush is a cofounder of the Thomas Merton Center.

(TMC newspaper VOL. 48 No. 9 November 2018. All rights reserved)

 

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