Is there a cure for our political plague?
Residents of north St. Louis gathered recently for a community meeting to discuss issues relating to an EPA Superfund toxic landfill smack dab in the middle of their neighborhood.
Living near a toxic landfill is risky business from countless standpoints. The health issues are obviously concerning and the gathered crowd at the meeting shared stories of ailments that resulted from their proximity to the toxic swamp.
Exposure to the radioactive waste at the landfill is believed to be the reason for many residents developing cancer and other serious issues.
Yet even those who have not yet developed health issues suffer from "chronic stress," a longterm psychological illness that itself can cause headaches and back pains. Residents were told that the "chronic stress" could well lead to other more serious illnesses with their hearts and immune systems.
In short, this is serious business.
Judging from the current political climate in this nation and the massive divide on the path forward, I suspect we have a national issue with chronic stress.
A day rarely passes without an example of this national divide. With a nation equally divided on the proper direction for this country, both sides must experience dramatic shifts and concerns with each passing hour.
Absent an acceptable middle ground - a concept sorely missing today - there is a growing epidemic of chronic stress that pits family against family and friend against friend.
Once civil conversation and debate has devolved into name calling and broken relationships. And this chronic stress has no signs of abatement in the foreseeable future.
Those living near the north St. Louis landfill at least have a solution. They can leave and move elsewhere, though for most that is impossible and unacceptable.
But those who suffer from this political chronic stress lack that option.
Given sufficient financial resources, officials could clean the landfill site and return the St. Louis neighborhood to the safe, healthy environment that those residents deserve.
But money and time alone won't solve the chronic stress that results from our political divide. Like some obscure disease from some equally obscure locale, perhaps there is no cure for this malady that grips America.
It will take some extraordinary event or national issue that will serve to repair this growing divide. And those types of events don't occur at random or on some manufactured timeframe.
The cure to chronic illness may lie in that one single issue on which this nation can agree. And if and when we reach that magical point, perhaps a cure will be in sight.
Until then, it's not as easy as taking an aspirin and getting some rest. This ailment, if left untreated, could plague this nation for a generation or more.