With each passing week, the consequences of our nation’s long neglect of infrastructure become alarmingly clear. The refusal of Michigan’s Republican Governor Rick Snyder to inform the people of Flint that their drinking water was contaminated with dangerous amounts of lead has been occupying the public’s attention, but similar crises around the nation are being revealed with a frightening frequency.
The rural town of Crystal City, Texas, received an unpleasant shock last week when they turned on their taps only to find black liquid spurting from the pipes. Apparently due to the flushing of a water tank that hadn’t been cleaned in decades, the water was found to smell awful and took on a greasy, oily texture. Complicating matters is the fact that all city officials but one were recently arrested by the FBI for perpetrating a massive bribery ring and illegal gambling.
“The indictment alleges that these public officials and this businessman solicited and accepted bribes in exchange for official action, such as voting to award city contracts to, waive certain tax payments by, and conduct certain inspections to give unfair advantage to those paying bribes,” announced U.S. Attorney Richard Durbin.
Left without any officials, who have all refused to resign while they are prosecuted, there isn’t anyone left to do anything. Residents were forced to take to social media to spread the world, and were only advised to “boil their water” by the lone city staffer – as if that could possibly help. Incidents like this will continue to happen unless we begin re-investing in our country, protecting our environment, and making sure public health is a top priority.
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Opinion columnist and former editor-in-chief of Occupy Democrats. He graduated from Bennington College with a Bachelor's degree in history and political science. He now focuses on advancing the cause of social justice and equality in America.