I had some errands to run the other day in Columbiana, Ohio. While out that way I decided to drive into East Palestine, Ohio. I was greeted by a sign that said, “Welcome to East Palestine, Ohio The Little City With a Big Future.” Just after the sign was the usual small town welcoming committee chairman in the form of a local police car with a radar gun aimed to catch entering visitors. Not exactly a friendly neighborly greeting. We have the same greeting here in my small burgh Vienna, Ohio. I guess that big future in East Palestine is going to be financed by unsuspecting visiting motorists. Luckily for me a truck driver gave me the “flashing headlights” to warn me of a local Barney Fife lying in wait to perch on some prey. I was going my usual 5 miles or so over the speed limit which might have got me a ticket if Barney was having a dry spell.
I like visiting antique and thrift stores so I stopped in a couple in downtown East Palestine. The most interesting one was in a very old three-story brick building. As I was about to enter I noticed a sign in one of the windows that said, “Remember Benghazi.” I then decided to not shop at this store as the owner didn’t care if he chased away potential customers with his right-wing politics. My father had his own business and didn’t talk politics or sports because feeding his family was more important than arguing his viewpoints and losing customers. Times have changed I guess. I should not have been surprised by the sign as Columbiana County is much more conservative that the Mahoning Valley. I had debated entering the store and telling the owner why should I be concerned with Benghazi as only 4 American lives were lost there. Was the store owner concerned with all the deaths during the Reagan administration? Reagan supported, trained and armed dictator’s death squads throughout Latin America. Those U.S. Reagan backed squads killed nearly 200,000 people. Those deaths included, bishops, priests, nuns, union organizers and environmentalists. Reagan never served a minute in jail over those deaths yet now I should be angry and want to impeach President Obama over Benghazi? I guess the store owner would tell me those 200,000 dead were Latinos so it doesn’t count. In my book they count and I’m ashamed and outraged that we had a president who was a mass murderer.
The deaths I am concerned about right now are closer to home. I’m talking about the death sentence we are being given by this fracking and storing of radioactive waste business in our valley. Columbiana County being conservative has really embraced this fracking business but at least activists in Youngstown are fighting back. As I was driving around on this Friday I was listening to WKBN radio’s local talk show hosted by Dan Rivers. Dan had on two union members from Pipe Fitters Local 396 who are opposed to the Community Bill of Rights charter amendment. It is set for the May 6th ballot and if passed will protect Youngstown from fracking. Debating them was Dr. Ray Beiersdorfer, an award-winning professor of Geology at Youngstown State University. Dr. Ray more than held his own against the pipefitters, Dan Rivers and right-wing callers. Ray had facts about the devastation caused by fracking all around our nation. Being the corporate tool that he is Rivers switched to different questions every time Ray’s facts destroyed his opponent’s talking points. Dr. Ray told the pipefitters they should be looking to the future and use their skills in newer emerging alternative energy jobs. He added that their fracking jobs were not more important than the safety of our children and grandchildren. The pipefitters, Dan Rivers and callers like Paul Lyden who owns an oil company valued the jobs over the possibility of a death sentence of cancer for the children of our community. I hope on election day the voters of Youngstown support the Community Bill of Rights charter amendment for the safe future of our valley’s next generation.
A message from a Youngstown “fractivist.”
Brian Eno: “Daddy’s Car”
“We’re in a giant car heading towards a brick wall and everyones arguing over where they’re going to sit” ~ David Suzuki