When Will Your Mad As Hell Moment Happen?

BY ON August 17, 2011

 Derek MarkhamIf you’ve been living under a rock, like I have, then you might have missed Dylan Ratigan’s mad as hell moment the first time around.

I know next to nothing about Ratigan, as I’ve never watched the show before, but I was ready to stand up and cheer after watching this clip – Not because of the specific solutions he mentions, but because he got mad as hell and let it all hang out.

And it made me think.

It made me wonder why we all sit back on our duffs and let a ‘bought congress’ (his term, and I love it) continue to muck things up for us. Yes, muck things up for us. Both because the effects of their actions in government are felt by the masses, and because they have a mandate to represent us, their constituents.

There comes a point in our life when we get mad as hell about something – not about the score of the ballgame, or someone cutting us off in traffic, but about an injustice or a situation that can no longer hold – and that ‘righteous anger’ is a powerful thing.

But too often, we tone it down to make it more acceptable to our friends or coworkers or spouse, or it gets diluted because we’re ‘sort of angry’ and many things, and in so doing, I think we miss a prime opportunity to show people what moves us – and to then get them off their duffs.

Ratigan was raging about the economy, and the trade, tax, and banking policies which support the extraction of wealth from the U.S., which is a huge topic, and one which tends to be the elephant in the room that nobody wants to admit seeing. But that’s not what I think you ought to get mad as hell about right now.

What I think you ought to be mad as hell about are specifics – specific bills and policies (and the politicians behind them) – which affect us and our families and which can be addressed individually, such as the issue of toxic emissions from coal plants.

What I think you ought to be mad as hell about is the opposition from politicians to updating our Clean Air Act to include emissions from coal-fired power plants.

What I think you ought to be mad as hell about is that our government has not made the health of its citizens a much higher priority than making higher profits for private businesses.

What I think you ought to be mad as hell about is the fact that 3/4 of mercury air emissions come from coal-fired power plants, and that over 400,000 newborns are affected by mercury pollution every year.

What I think you ought to be mad as hell about is that the costs of environmentally mediated diseases in children are an astonishing $76 billion per year.

What I think you ought to be mad as hell about is that 20 out of the top 25 mercury emitting coal-fired plants are located within 50 to 100 miles of population centers, and that mercury exposure for children can have serious side effects.

What I think you ought to be mad as hell about is that we already have the technology to cut these harmful toxic emissions, and the price of the technology to capture mercury emissions has decrease to only 1/6 of what it was over 10 years ago. And that because of a loophole in the Clean Air Act, coal-fired plants built before 2000 are exempt from emissions of hazardous air pollutants.

Do you know a kid with asthma? How about parents of a child born with a birth defect? Or a child with cancer? Or with lead poisoning? Do you live near a coal-fired power plant? Do you know anyone who does?

Even if you don’t live NEAR a plant, you’re breathing their pollution, and your fish is contaminated.

I’m guessing you can answer yes to at least one of those questions, and if so, what are you waiting for? It’s time for us to get mad as hell about the health side-effects of burning coal for power. Because our kids can’t protect themselves against toxic air pollution – it’s up to us.

To learn more, join the Moms Clean Air Force and help us to get the Mercury and Air Toxics Standards passed and implemented.

TOPICS: Activism