Today is the final day of voting in the Portland special election that will decide whether fluoride is added to the city’s water.
Most U.S. cities already have fluoride in the water. Portland is the largest city that doesn’t. Portland residents have repeatedly voted against it. Recently, the city council decided to implement it anyway, but enough citizens signed a petition to call a special election.
Science is on the side of those who are pro-fluoridation; there is evidence that it can reduce cavities by 25 percent during a person’s lifetime, and there is scant evidence that it is hazardous to health. That question has not yet been resolved, but, if it were, and if I were convinced of both the benefits and the safety of fluoridation, I would still be inclined to vote No, and this is why:
As Willamette Week - which favors fluoridation - reported, Healthy Kids, Healthy Portland, the organization that is pushing for fluoridation, has paid $143,000 in bribe money to get minority organizations to endorse its campaign.
“Fluoride and dental health are really important to low-income communities and communities of color,” says Healthy Kids, Health Portland campaign manager Evyn Mitchell. “We are trying to provide capacity to the groups that will do the outreach.”
If that’s the case, then why did Mitchell’s organization have to buy support in those communities?
The argument goes that children in low-income families will benefit the most from fluoridation, because they have less access to dental care than the great and the good on the City Council who tried to make the decision for them.
This is not democracy. It is not social responsibility. It is not compassion. It is classism and racism. Instead of doing outreach, instead of talking to poor people and people of color and asking what they want and need, the great and good have decided that they know best. Instead of offering dental care, just put some fluoride in the water, and those who have no choice but to drink it might save $38 in dental bills in a lifetime.
To vote No on this issue is not just to vote against what some regard as contamination of some of the purest and cleanest municipal water in the nation - it is also a vote against arrogance and cultural imperialism. It is a vote for inclusion and care, and a vote against easy fixes.
There is a difference between the public and the private self, and with Giffords - whom you’re correct in saying that I don’t know personally - I comment on the public self. She may be hard-working and dedicated, but what she has worked hard at and shown herself to be dedicated to is conservative, pandering, racist politicking.
Her objection to SB 1070 was not that it was racist, but that it was impractical. She cheered the deployment of the National Guard to the border, to combat a problem that does not exist. Even though her being shot has been cited as an example of why guns ought to be banned, she herself supports gun rights.
I think the problem is that many people in America think that racism is an attitude. And this is encouraged by the capitalist system. So they think that what people think is what makes them a racist. Racism is not an attitude.
If a white man wants to lynch me, that’s his problem. If he’s got the power to lynch me, that’s my problem. Racism is not a question of attitude; it’s a question of power.
Racism gets its power from capitalism. Thus, if you’re anti-racist, whether you know it or not, you must be anti-capitalist. The power for racism, the power for sexism, comes from capitalism, not an attitude.
You cannot be a racist without power. You cannot be a sexist without power. Even men who beat their wives get this power from the society which allows it, condones it, encourages it. One cannot be against racism, one cannot be against sexism, unless one is against capitalism.
Note the arrogance of “we” - the assumption that everybody supports the same racist measures that she does.
Yesterday, M.V. Moorhead invited me to go to a screening of Creature with him, but I didn’t get his message in time. Judging by his review, I was fortunate - though I’m sure we’ve sat through worse films together.
Moorhead raises an important point when he writes:
The antipathy to female sexuality to which these movies cater is clear, but I’m not sure it’s ever occurred to me what a broad streak of bourgeois class hatred—fear & loathing of the rural poor—that they also carry. There are some terrific actors, such as Sid Haig & Pruitt Taylor Vince, among the grinning, gibbering, incestuous hayseeds in Creature, & they’re entertaining as usual. But this stereotype could also be put on the shelf for a good long while, all the same.
According to New Times, AZ Senate President Russell Pearce is campaigning hard to fight the recall. He’s using a picture swiped from New Times and cropped to remove his cuddle-buddy, neo-Nazi J.T. Ready.
None of the many witnesses I spoke with yesterday saw the young victim either holding or shooting a gun and firmly believe he was unarmed. ABC7’s Carolyn Tyler balanced the police claim that they shot the youngster in self-defense by interviewing Trivon Dixon, who said: “He was running. How could he be a threat in retreat? And he wasn’t running backwards, turning around shooting. He was in full throttle, running away from the police. I don’t see in any way how he could be a threat to the police.”
I’ve said before that the reason I write novels set in Arizona is that it is the epicenter of the U.S.’s crisis.