Skip to main content

In May of 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson gave the commencement address at the University of Michigan and first laid out the framework of what would become his vision for America's "Great Society." In the speech, LBJ reflected on the progress of our grand American experiment and our vision for the years to come, saying that:

"For a century we labored to settle and to subdue a continent. For half a century we called upon unbounded invention and untiring industry to create an order of plenty for all of our people.

The challenge of the next half century is whether we have the wisdom to use that wealth to enrich and elevate our national life, and to advance the quality of our American civilization."

That half century has now passed and much of the nation has failed to meet the challenge of the Great Society and some places, like the bulk of West Virginia, has regressed. As I shared in my latest article, The Family Afterward: West Virginia Four Months After The Freedom Industries Chemical Spill, even something as basic as clean water is no longer guarantee, as the hundreds of thousands of West Virginians who have been running tainted water through their taps for the past 4 months can attest. And yet, there has been an almost complete absence of media coverage over this ongoing violation of our basic freedoms since the spill first happened. It has been up to us, the citizen journalists, the muckrakers, the advocates the passionate bloggers, to keep this story alive--to remind the rest of the country that "3rd world" problems are running rampant in parts of our "1st world" nation.

This story will not die. This story cannot die. Read it. Share it. Keep it alive. Scroll below the fold to find out more on how you can bring this travesty the attention it deserves.

It took millions of years for West Virginia's gorgeous rivers to form. We're poisoning them in 200.

For those who have not read it, the article was essentially a portrait of one West Virginia family who had been greatly effected by the massive coal cleaning chemical spill and who was kind enough to let me into their lives. Hardest hit by the spill was Kami, whose youth and vitality was snatched from her via a series of severe health complications that both the family and myself are 99.9% sure were in some way triggered or exacerbated by the high concentration of pollutants in the area's water supply and overall environment (for their part, the fine folks over at The Cleveland Clinic are pretty well stumped).

What I am asking of you is a small portion of your time: 5 to 10 minutes to read the article (if you haven't already); 5 minutes to share it to your friends, family and followers. Share The Family Afterward on Facebook and on Twitter; share it through e-mail and LinkedIn and on Daily Kos. Let King Coal and all of the bought, sold and spoken for politicians in Charleston and in Washington know that we will not tolerate a country where citizens are denied access to a right as basic to life as clean water.

If this story can't gain traction and America can't get up and get mobilized over this blatant disregard for the lives of her citizens, then the only other practical step I can think of is to build a sign. That's right, if America can't be bothered to care about this, I'd ask that at the very least they build West Virginia a sign. Build it 200 feet long and 100 feet high and bolt it to the squint eyed through truss of the Chuck Yeager Bridge in Charleston, West Virginia. Bolt it to the side of the bridge that faces away from the city and towards the Ohio so it can greet eastward travelers with words of warning; words that gleam under the light of the Appalachian sun with a navy blue and gold granitine sparkle that obscures the moribund reality of what lies behind it. And let those words read:

“Through me is the way to the doleful country.
Abandon All Hope, Y'all Who Enter Here.”
Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site