I went to the river today, as I often do, to bury my sorrows. I work just a block away from the Ohio River and it is a source of comfort for me to take respite along her banks when I can.
I was stirred to grief the first thing this morning because I read that CAFTA had passed in the Senate. It remains to be seen whether or not it will pass in the House, but it troubles me that it's made it this far.
For those familiar with Kentucky, it will go without saying that all of my “representatives” support CAFTA.
In case you're not familiar with it, CAFTA is the Central American Free Trade Agreement, a sister to NAFTA, which we made with Mexico and Canada thanks to an idiotic Clinton (equal opportunity criticism here).
While the notion of Free Trade might seem a good thing on the surface, in fact these free trade agreements have been written by and for corporations. So, inasmuch as you think “What's good for Ford is good for America,” FTAs are a good thing.
If, on the other hand, you think we ought to have protections for the environment, for workers, and for local and national sovreignty, FTAs are a source of great concern because they break down protections. Free Trade Agreements have induced what has been called a “race to the bottom.” That is, whichever country is willing and able to offer the lowest pay to workers with the fewest environmental protections get rewarded with industries.
But, I didn't sit down to vent about so-called free trade, I sat to write about the river. Although much abused by us, the Ohio has been rolling her way to the Mississippi and on to the ocean for a mighty long time.
There is something compelling in her presence when I'm there. Her lapping waters slowly bounce up against the shore near my feet and then carry on. The warmth of this new July day seems measured and mollified by the Ohio, here at her shore.
Needing to go on to work, I stood and tried to leave behind my concerns in her gentle rolling waters below. Before I left, I noticed a mallard flying across my path, swooping inches above the water, on and on and on down the river 'til she eventually laid her body down, embraced by the Ohio. I feel the embrace, as well, and it is good.
Take me to the River