Tag Archives: Mad and sad

Wearing the badge of honor

I have so many thoughts going through my head as we begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel with our water mess.  Most of the affected water contamination zone has been cleared to start using water again although most people still don’t trust the water enough to actually drink it.  We are definitely in that camp…we are washing with the still-smelling-like-licorice tap water but not using it for drinking, cooking or teeth-brushing.

The CDC reported that pregnant women should not drink this water even though it has been declared “safe”.  Of course, that makes everyone wonder who it is really safe for….1 year olds?  What about 5 year olds?  There is no good answer here I think but what choice do we have?  Of course, I don’t want to move as some people have threatened, but even if I did, who would buy a house in a contaminated area?  No, we will stay here and this will pass.  It prompts many questions though.

Many people are over-the-top mad and many of them are directing it at the water company but I think their anger is misdirected.  The water company is the only entity communicating to the public so they are easy to yell at.  The damn chemical tank owner is to blame here but they are no where to be found.

Someone else mentioned it first but I sort of agree…too many times in Appalachian history, we have some massive issue like this and we wear our survival of the event as a badge of honor.  “This was a terrible disaster, but we are strong people…we’ll get through.”  It’s great to persevere, but it is a real shame that we have to…It’s not just here in WV either of course.  In my home town in PA, gas fracking is poisoning the ground as non-local companies pump thousands of gallons of chemicals into the earth, find their gas and leave town.  Locals are stuck living with the long term repercussions.  It’s a tragedy really but one that they wear as a badge of honor there as well.

I guess this badge of honor isn’t unique to Appalachia…maybe it is common to rural dwellers, the poor or just anyone who can’t fight back.  It makes me sad and mad that the human condition is, and perhaps always has been, one of simply surviving atrocity after atrocity.  Truly, this disaster has not been the disaster it could have been if a more horrible chemical had leaked, but dumb luck doesn’t really make me feel better.

It IS a sad condition and a shame to wear this disaster as a badge of honor but most here will do just that.  I suppose I will too as I don’t really see any other option.  We’re a tough people though…we’ll get through it…