December is the doorway into the darkness. And so it began yesterday walking in the rain to the movie Dark Waters. A superbly-rendered whistle-blower film, one of my favorite genres where the bad guys get their just desserts. But at what cost? So much needless human suffering, death and destruction before the heartless corporate greed-driven people have to cut into their profits to pay back—and then generally charge more to their customers to make up for it.
The pattern is always the same. Profit is the bottom line, the top line, the center of the whole enterprise, human decency be damned. So even when a mistake is innocent and they think they’re advancing human civilization—like the invention of Teflon—when things come to light that show that it’s hazardous to human health—in this case, releasing dangerous carbon-8 into the air and dumping it into the earth and having it leak into the water, they cover it up and go to great lengths to keep it covered. Always thinking that they themselves can live far away from the destruction and not caring about the “receptors” (euphemism for human beings) who bear the brunt of the damage. Whether it’s the nuclear energy industry in Silkwood and The China Syndrome, the tobacco industry in The Insider, PG &E in Erin Brokovich,a chemical company in Michael Clayton or Dupont in Dark Waters, the pattern is always the same. Make money by hurting people and places “over there” and cover it up at all costs. But in this last film, the not-funny joke is on Dupont—99% of the people on the planet are carrying some level of the toxic C-8 in their bodies—including everyone employed by Dupont. There is no “over there.”
I’m sure there isn’t a reader of this post who doesn’t know someone struggling with or dead from cancer and there’s no doubt that the epidemic spread of this deadly disease is due partly to our environment contaminated by these heartless bastards who hide under cheery slogans like “We bring good things to life” and “Better living through chemistry.” Two kids in my school just lost their father to cancer yesterday. An Orff colleague was just diagnosed with a surprise Stage-4 cancer. An alum student has to choose between an operation that will leave him voiceless or death. It’s hard enough to accept mortality as the price of living, but harder yet when we ourselves are creating the conditions that hasten its coming. All so a few guys in suits can buy big houses while the government looks the other way and trusts them to “self-regulate”—no accountability, no consequences. Sound familiar? The same drama going on in the Impeachment Hearings.
Hail to the whistleblowers and enough of a justice system that occasionally does the right thing. But let’s start at the root and educate the next generation in morality over money, truth over lies, courage over cover-up. That’s the long term solution. But meanwhile, let’s make sure we get the heartless bastards who know exactly what they’re doing and don’t care. We can pray for their souls and be compassionate for their mistakes but only after they’re rotting in jail. Go see the movie and you’ll know what I’m feeling.