Tuesday, February 26, 2013

The Unfair Fight

By Ashley Intveld

I read the line, stopped, checked my glasses for smudges, and read it again. I was right the first time around. The Record’s article titled, “Toxic Legacy” reads, “Some cleanup work in Ringwood had been temporarily halted. The sludge is just too contaminated to be accepted by the toxic landfill in Michigan where it was being carted…” If a substance is considered too contaminated for a toxic landfill, where is the logic in thinking that it was perfectly acceptable to dump just feet from people’s homes? I can’t wrap my head around it, but somehow a major corporation could, and so thousands of citizens faced the dastardly wrath of harmful chemicals recklessly dumped by the Ford Motor Company.

Startlingly enough, Ford is not, and will not be, the only company to possess such a sense of entitlement when it comes to doing as they please simple because it’s “easy.” Consider now how the people of Mahwah continue to have their livelihoods threatened for the same of corporate gain in the pursuit of the gas pipeline ripping through their once respected and precious land.

Remove the corporate title for just a moment. Now we have a story about a group of people dumping their trash on someone else’s property in immense proportions. There is no way around it; this is a wrongdoing that deserves some kind of justice to be served. Now, put back in place the corporate name. Simply because Ford is behind this messy mayhem, it’s ignored and pushed aside. On the taxable level, the corporation is considered to be on the same level as an individual person. 

That’s like saying I am the equivalent of GE. GE and I are exactly the same- except for the fact that I don’t represent millions of employees or have a disgustingly high profit rate. And unlike me, GE doesn’t have a mom, a dad, feelings, or need sick-days. How, then, are we considered the same in the nation’s eyes?

In the scenario mentioned in "Toxic Legacy," Ford makes it abundantly clear just how much more powerful a corporation is than your average individual. How? Because he robbed individual lives of their right to a healthy life and environment. What did the individual do to Ford, aside from make it even more profitable by purchasing their products? And unlike Ford, the impacted citizens’ problems can’t be resolved with monetary means. No amount of money can amount to the sacrifice of a human life or a person’s health.

How Ford was even able to pursue this act is also beyond me. The fact that an illegal crime family was employed to “do the deed,” should, in itself, show just how wrong the whole thing was. And yet, Ford will say that at the time of the dumping, it “wasn’t illegal.” Just because it wasn’t technically illegal does not mean it’s even remotely justified. Punching someone in the face isn’t illegal, but I’m not about to go do it just because I can. Aside from the obvious problem at hand, the primary problem is that the citizens are kept in the dark as a means to keep them silent. Not only will no one hear their thoughts, but no one will hear their cries for help.

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