Guess who came to East Chicago last Monday? It was Dr. Ben Carson, Secretary of Housing and Urban Development. Dr. Carson was at a press conference at a local school with E.C. Mayor Anthony Copeland and various state dignitaries discussing the contaminated land problem that forced everyone in the West Calumet Complex to be relocated. The contamination came from a plant that stood on the Complex grounds decades ago, and that Monday's audience had some of those displaced WCC residents.
There were the usual speeches, with Dr. Carson praising state and local government for all they're doing, but one thing he said--twice--stuck out for me: Don't go back to the past and play the blame game, but focus on the present and what we can do. Audience members asked the important questions, like when will the grounds be cleaned up enough for people to come back, and will the children affected by the lead in the ground get medical treatment? I heard no real answers or reassurances--just typical speechmaking.
I watched the press conference from home on a Facebook Live feed on my laptop and live tweeted on my tablet. This morning Jackie Harris, editor of The 411 news website that I manage, called me and asked how I got into the event (she assumed from my tweets I was there in person). I thought later, This is fantastic! Not Jackie's assumption but that I can view a live press conference in my own hometown because I have Facebook, Facebook has live streaming and East Chicago has a government-run multimedia department. What a world we live in!
Now we know this generation is not perfect, past generations were not perfect and future generation will not be perfect; but I am glad for the generation I'm living in now--one that allows us to have different kinds of media right in our reach. I love this generation!
I leave you now with my caricature of Dr. Carson. I'm surprised he didn't say, "Life is a gift, which is why it's called the present" when he urged citizens to leave the past behind.