President Obama was in Flint this week to address the terrorism- yes, terrorism- the city is still suffering from. After a full two years the President finally made it there. Why? Because we are a nation of cowards. We show courage when confronting crises and acts of terror committed by others but when we are the perpetrators, we rarely face the music we orchestrated. Beyond the obvious factors of race and class, this inability to own our transgressions helps explain why eleven days after 9/11 Congress created a $7 billion fund to compensate family members of the 2,700 victims. It also explains why two years into Flint’s crisis the 100,000 residents of Flint have only a proposal in the Senate; a mere $220 million aid package, tucked into a larger bill for water-related projects around the country.
There was lead in the water but the government continually denied any health risks to the city’s residents. Only the persistence of a Virginia Tech professor brought the truth to light. I’m not talking about Flint, Michigan, by the way. Rather, I’m referring to our nation’s capital: Washington, DC.
Cuba was ruled by a dictator in the 1950’s, his name was Batista. John F. Kennedy once charged that Batista murdered 20,000 Cubans and turned a Democratic Cuba into a police state, all with the United States supporting his “reign of terror.” The U.S was particularly fond of Batista because in the 1950’s, as Kennedy pointed out, “U.S. companies owned about 40 percent of the Cuban sugar lands