DGR Chicago responds to Governor Quinn’s January 29, 2014 State of the State Address:
Contrary to the words of Governor Quinn during his recent address, Illinois is in a state of disaster.
Quinn mentions extreme weather – but not climate change. Illinois residents have experienced the coldest winter in more than 30 years. This is the result of unusually high Pacific Ocean temperatures caused by global climate change. It was this shift in ocean temperatures that disrupted the “polar vortex” and plunged the country into an arctic winter.
And yet, the state legislature has disregarded the populace’s concern for the global climate by proposing legislation that would allow large-scale hydrofracturing in Southern Illinois. Fracking: Another step in the death march towards an atmosphere resembling Venus. This would also result in the contamination of drinking and irrigation water (See the Governor’s Clean Water Initiative below), as well as the destruction of precious natural habitats, such as those located around Starved Rock State Park, where mining companies are planning to extract sand for fracking operations.
Considering that fracking is known to cause seismic activity, and that Illinois has more nuclear reactors than any other state, maybe we should stop to think if we really want to be the next in line after Fukushima for an on-going nuclear disaster? Despite almost universal disapproval of fracking at Illinois Department of Natural Resources’ public hearings, the agency has already decided to work in the service of corporations instead of the the Illinois people or whatever small fragments of uncontaminated nature remain in this state.
This is not particularly surprising. Illinois has a history as one of the most corrupt states in the nation, and now is no exception. With one former governor in jail, another on the way, and former Chicago Alderman Ambrosio Medrano having just been sentenced to 10 ½ years for accepting bribes, is there really any reason to suspect Gov. Quinn is any different?
Quinn mentions Illinois’ planned investment in a “bio-hub for pharmaceutical, medical device, and health IT start-ups.” Whatever that actually means, he obviously is more concerned with its ability to “drive economic growth” than to facilitate some kind of medical care. In fact, a study just ranked Illinois the 45th in the nation for emergency medical treatment. It also ranked the Prairie State the 43rd state in the nation for disaster preparedness, giving the lie to the governor’s empty rhetoric concerning community resilience.
Quinn has declared a disaster over an apparent shortage of propane in Illinois. How about the mercury and other toxins, approximately 20 times the legal limit, that British Petroleum is dumping into Lake Michigan, which serves as the drinking water for over 8.5 million people? Is that not a disaster?
He talks of the need for a “sound infrastructure” to support economic growth. But he fails to mention the importance of the very land and water upon which we depend for existence, the biological infrastructure of life.
He talks of investing over $1 billion into a Clean Water initiative, but is this anything but a distraction? Water does not actually require money to be free of toxic substances – it only needs to avoid contamination in the first place. But this would apparently be far too detrimental to the beloved, sacrosanct “economy” to find itself on his agenda.
Quinn quotes the Bible, “Where there is no vision, the people perish.” What happens to the people when there is no potable water or uncontaminated food? Apparently this vision of which Gov. Quinn speaks is that emanating from the all-seeing eye on the back of a dollar bill, which can see nothing beyond the other bills stacked atop it.
The empty platitudes and anecdotal pathos which constituted Quinn’s address were a clear attempt at political hypnosis, seeking to lull its audience to sleep with words completely devoid of meaning or a coherent relationship with reality.
The only thing that the speech effectively did communicate was an utter disdain for its audience. But we are not as stupid as these politicians would have us believe. We do not need to accept their deranged vision of reality, according to which money, rather than a thriving biosphere, is the source of our sustenance. We do not need to accept their proclamations that people with enough money can buy the right to pump toxic substances into the earth, and further decimate the land within which we live. This ecocidal agenda is not inevitable. But if we are going to protect ourselves, our non-human companions, and the land of Illinois, we cannot allow these insane reversals of priority to go uncontested. With all of our love for the wild nature within and around us, we must fight!