Water is one of those essentials we take for granted in our country, until we can’t. Here in Ohio, our normal city water is smelly and has so much sediment in it, you can almost eat it. Blech. It leaves white crusty residue all over everything. The quality is doubtful, and we don’t get periodic test reports, as in more civilized places. So we just have to resign ourselves, and hope we don’t die of something waterborne.
So when our water suddenly and mysteriously turns brown, as it does every so often in this city, my mind involuntarily goes to Flint, Michigan. The only good to come out of that crisis will be if other cities and politicians are exposed before more children suffer and die. Usually the damage has been done by then. But hey, it’s only a bunch of working poor slobs, so they get away with it.
It does make you think. No matter how hard you try not to take necessities for granted, a water issue never fails to remind you how fragile and insecure that supposed “right” can be, especially for poor folks who don’t have many options or recourse. You live in a place like Fairborn, or Flint as the case may be, because the rent is really cheap, and the jobs used to be there. You work hard your whole life for low wages, or you scrape by on social security or a pension, which is never enough to save for moving. Your credit record has taken severe hits due to circumstances beyond your control, such as a foreclosure or bankruptcy, so you don’t qualify for loans. You can’t afford to go to a doctor, because your insurance is too unaffordable, unless you’re impoverished enough to qualify for Medicaid, if Medicaid has been expanded in your state. (at least Ohio did that much.) You loyally served in the military, but the VA “promises” of benefits were a lie. And so on.
It’s a vicious cycle that you don’t even contemplate until you find yourself in this position. It’s easy to assume those people are lazy freeloaders or did something wrong to deserve this. It’s how privileged people relieve their conscience and justify their indifference. They assume they’ll never be in such dire straits, having done everything “right”. Until it happens to them. You’d be surprised how many homeless people were once well off and complacent, until one catastrophic event threw them over the edge. Never ASSume it can’t happen to you.
Anyway, water. Good water quality is supposed to be a given in our “first world” country. You’d be amazed at how undeveloped some areas still continue to be. I’m still having culture shock! You never take anything for granted in towns like these. Funny coincidence, they tend to be run by rich religious conservatives who obstruct regulation and don’t give a crap. And it will stay that way, as long as apathetic sheep perpetuate the status quo, and the disenfranchised are restricted from voting.
Our water appears to have returned to its normal questionable state, for now. We’re thankful for little things, and try not to scrutinize them too closely. We’re trying hard to regroup and save for our big move out of here. We’re under no illusions that our new homeland won’t have issues of its own. It’s ‘Murica, after all. That is, until we’re all compelled by Trump to evacuate to Canada. Where I understand they have nice, clean water. A big selling point.