Hauntingly Familiar

What strikes me most in JFK’s remarks during his visit to the city in September 1960 is this:

I think the President of the United States and the administration and the government and the state government and the city should join together in cleaning our polluted rivers. They are a great national asset. But if you are going to bring industry in here which is going to use fresh, clean water, they can’t use the river as it is today. The administration vetoed the distressed area bill; they have vetoed the polluted river bill last year.

It’s without question that if solely left to the Eisenhower administration, our river and many other polluted rivers, would likely be inhospitable to recreation or repurposing as we currently enjoy. Indeed, extending the Eisenhower platform that environmental issues are “uniquely local’, hard hit areas such as ours would face limited options to remediate the rivers given the magnitude of the issue and the limitations for localities to ably deal with them.

The point here is that when you hear the Rands and the Cruzes and their ilk who proudly proclaim and advocate for dismantling the EPA and other environmental policies in the name of “free markets” and against “socialism”, you see that we would fare much worse locally, and nationally.

I am quite sure that if today, we found ourselves on the banks of our polluted rivers, a vocal faction would rail against any initiative to address the issue and contemptuously sneer at those who would advocate for a vision that it need not be so.

I can hear it now: “Nobody wants to fish or canoe on a river. And don’t tell me people actually like to live or recreate by a river. We can’t afford it.” I think we all know the routine. I’m still not sure how keeping the river polluted would protect our seniors but I’m sure a case would be made: “What about our seniors who enjoy the colored hues of the dyes as they head downstream? We don’t want to take that from them”.

And undoubtedly, our local pundit class would come up with eight thousand and one more reasons why it would never work and why it is foolish to try all in the name of “protecting the taxpayers” and whatever demagoguery they can muster . No matter that time proves them wrong again and again as the economy and technology and society move on, while they stubbornly do not.

While the local river might be less polluted, the mindset against progress remains just as polluted 50 years later.

JFK would find it all hauntingly familiar.



8 thoughts on “Hauntingly Familiar

  1. Yet it took Nixon to form the EPA..and it was under Rockefeller that our own Mohawk river clean up efforts were started here and let’s not forget that the first environmental president was Teddy Roosevelt..all republicans I believe.Just sayin.

    • Don,
      The Republican and Democrat Parties of yesterday show very little resemblance to the modern ones.
      That’s why I count Lincoln among the best Democrat presidents the US has ever had.

      What on earth does this have to do with Section 8, and why is that your target for ‘new people’ in Amsterdam? Those are some pretty snarky comments coming from someone who may be an elected official.

      And thanks for the reply to my Muni post. You can be added to the people who cannot be reasoned with so long as they continue to fall victim to lies and rumors versus fact and what is actual.

    • Don,

      You are right about Nixon and TR. However,by today’s standard of Republican, they would be deemed radical leftist, socialists. Imagine a Republican today stating that they would set aside 150 million acres for forest reserves(TR) or creating a whole new federal agency and burdensome regulations — the EPA (Nixon). Their positions on the environment would be considered far left even for the Democratic Party.

    • Rogo,
      There’s nothing to challenge, as your basis is illogical and your ‘numbers’ have been called into question before. You can’t just go around saying something is a ‘fact’ just because you have willed it so.

      So unless you can show some sort of evidence wherein you can prove that you’ve actually interviewed ‘section 8 people’ saying they don’t care about JFK or his assassination day then I would call out your ‘fact’s’ credibility.

      I’m not even sure why I bother…

  2. Was there anything in schools about the killing of JFK. (i know where i was). or is this lost even though he spoke in amst.If you surveyed new people (sec 8) would they care????????????

  3. I do agree with you Rob both political parties have drifted so far from their core principles that previous presidential icons of both political parties would never get through the nominating process today.

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