Last week, the Detroit News, the chronicle of the slow garroting of a once-pretty good city, published an article about how the city of Detroit couldn’t provide death certificates to funeral directors because the paper supplier wanted to get paid in advance. The paper supplier was skittish because Detroit is fucked beyond fucked, in bankruptcy and run by an emergency manager, and it didn’t want to get dicked over.
The paper crisis was solved, but now funeral directors were told that the county morgue would no longer release bodies to families and funeral homes on Sundays. Oh, and the city vital records department is closing. That’s because the city is shutting the Herman Kiefer Health Complex, where thousands of people got their health and wellness services, like “vaccinations, birth control, food handling licensing, HIV and STD testing, and other public safety operations.” They’ll get it, but at smaller, less centralized locations in the county. The employees don’t know what is going to happen with their jobs.
In Chicago this Labor Day weekend, 8 people were shot dead and 25 were wounded in a bunch of different gun incidents. There have been over 1500shootings in the city so far this year. That is a humanitarian crisis, too, it seems.
In Philadelphia, the city wants to cut the pay of teachers at least 5%, maybe up to 13%, and cut health benefits while making them work a longer day. West Virginia has just gutted funding for colleges, forcing layoffs and jacking up tuition.
Across this America, city after city and state after state, the basics of daily life (and death) are being wrecked, in part, by our failure to spend on things that matter to Americans, things that actually would make this a great country. A nation that has a city that, even briefly, couldn’t provide death or birth certificates because it didn’t have paper is a nation that has absolutely no business spending millions, perhaps billions of dollars to bomb Syria just because the mad president there did something insane.
No, sorry, but fuck Syria. When we don’t have to tell schoolteachers to take a pay cut and we can assure the children of Chicago they won’t get shot, we can talk about being the moral authority in the world.
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