We the People

Remember the Love Canal in the late 1970s? Remember Flint, Michigan in early 2016? Is there something We the People can do about disasters such as these? This 2016 Seattle Film International Festival entry from the US demonstrates the galvanizing power of a well-made documentary.

Director Leila Conners has assembled interviews with local activists Thomas Linzey, Ben Price, Cathy Miorelli, Tish O'Dell and Doug Shields, plus news clips, statistics, graphs and charts to illustrate what is going on, why, and most important, what we can do about it.

Here is just a fraction of what I saw:
  • The United States is an oligarchy with most of our power concentrated with the wealthy and their influential lobbyists.
  • It's far easier for lobbyists to bribe 700 people (U.S. Congress and some high-ranking staff) than to control 10,000 local governments who are concerned for the health and wellbeing of their children. Thus their fondness for a centralized government.
  • Government agencies are ineffectual to make fundamental changes. Concerned citizens say "EPA stands for Everything Permitted Always" because community meetings about a concern are called AFTER permits have been issued.
  • Activists have learned to address these issues from a political standpoint, not a legal one. That way, the lawyers can't get involved but the voters can.
  • If local government doesn't act, we have the power of Initiatives, the press, and if it is working, education for our young people
  • In a Democracy the supreme power is with the people, thus local control MUST be regained. (We started to become a more centralized government - exactly what we had rebelled against - in the late 1700s.)
  • This issue is world wide, not just in the United States.
We see the effects of toxic dumping, drilling, and strip mining on small communities. We see how hard the local people have worked to stop the degradation of the water supply for their towns and discover what they have learned (the hard way). This is both instructive and constructive because it has become clear how frustrated and mute citizens feel. In addition, it shows the positive effects of local control.

This one is important.