Not a Drop to Drink

detroit

While the UN is bringing clean water to the poorest parts of the world, thousands of residents are without any water in a major American city. This is the kind of Third World society Americans are creating by voting for Republicans.

In 2010, Republicans were swept into power in state legislatures and in the House of Representatives. Only the Senate stayed Democrat.

The full extent of this disaster is now being felt as Republican legislatures and governors implement draconian policies that rob women and minorities of their rights and inflict suffering on the poor.

While the media spotlight is on the gridlock created in Washington by Republican obstructionism, equally destructive measures are being introduced, almost unnoticed, at the state level.

Michigan is a case in point.

The state is ruled by Republicans, and they are reshaping it in a Third World image. Governor Rick Snyder makes no secret of his goal. The heading on his web site declares he is “reinventing Michigan.”

And in the state’s largest city, reinvented Michigan is on display.

One of Snyder’s despotic tactics is dissolution of democratically elected local governments and their replacement by his appointed managers. The pretext is the existence of “financial emergencies” in the cities targeted.

Detroit’s decay – precipitated by the flight of industry and predatory lending by banks leading up to the housing crisis – gave Snyder the excuse he needed to fire the city council and send in a hatchet man. Emergency Manager Kevyn Orr has forced the city into bankruptcy (over the objection of many residents) and city employees have lost their pensions in the process.

The city’s assets are being sold off and its utilities are being “privatized.”

The Detroit Water and Sewerage Department  is one of the agencies in line for privatization. And it’s being whipped into shape in readiness for the sale.

This spring, the utility began shutting off service for 1,500 to 3,000 customers per week. Many of these customers inherited the delinquent water bills when they moved into their apartments but that makes no difference. It’s pay up or else!

According to city officials, more than 154,000 of 296,000 residential customers are behind in paying their water bills. And residents who are more than 60 days behind are shut off.

You can imagine the widespread horror resulting from this policy. Thousands are without a drop of water to wash or clean or even drink. In case of a fire, there is no water to put out the flames.

It’s a humanitarian crisis so severe that the UN is being asked to help.

Imagine that. Mighty America is going to the UN to beg for clean water.

How’s that for a Third World country?

 Click for the appeal to the UN.

Click for more on privatization plans.

gwgraeme

I am a Jamaican-born writer who has lived and worked in Canada and the United States. I live in Lakeland, Florida with my wife, Sandra, our three cats and two dogs. I like to play golf and enjoy our garden, even though it's a lot of work. Since retiring from newspaper reporting I've written a few books. I also write a monthly column for Jamaicans.com

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