Why Elites Don't Give a Damn About Ohio | Opinion

There is an environmental disaster taking place in East Palestine, Ohio. The small town may never be the same. But there has been a disturbing lack of urgency from the media and, most importantly, the Biden Administration.

It's puzzling that people who claim to care so much about the environment are relatively silent in the face of an actual environmental calamity. It's led me to come to only one conclusion: Elites don't give a damn about Ohio.

I mean this in two ways: They don't care about the actual state of Ohio, and they do not care about Ohioans and people like us in culturally similar states.

East Palestine
Smoke rises from a derailed cargo train in East Palestine, Ohio, on February 4, 2023. - The train accident sparked a massive fire and evacuation orders, officials and reports said Saturday. DUSTIN FRANZ/AFP via Getty Images

This is not a new phenomenon. I live in Cleveland, Ohio, one of the most disrespected cities in the country. We're used to the arrogant and dismissive sneering from the coasts. But to see the almost gleeful way some progressives have reveled in the misfortune of the residents of East Palestine shows a moral, cultural, and political rot that is at the core of elite society.

One deplorable progressive shared a map alleging that the disaster was poisoning the water of "Yokel Central." Highlighted were the states of Ohio, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky, and parts of Tennessee, Pennsylvania, Illinois and Virginia. He then arrogantly added: "Gee, that's too bad. Perhaps they'll reevaluate their voting patterns. (They won't.)"

His attitude exposed what the lack of urgency is really about: All but three of the states mentioned are solidly red.

Elites don't feel any connection to the people of East Palestine because they aren't "their" people. The humanity of these Americans has been stripped away from them simply because the average Midwestern or Southern American votes Republican.

I have to wonder if the same political rot has infested our federal government. Why did it take Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg (himself a former "Yokel Central" mayor) 10 days to publicly address the East Palestine disaster? Addressing the nation's transportation issues is literally his job, yet this disaster was apparently so irrelevant to him that it took days to publicly address it.

While as of this writing the cause of the derailment is still unclear, I can't help but think back to December of 2022, when President Biden and members of Congress intervened to bust up a potential rail worker strike. According to Reuters, "Railroads have slashed labor and other costs to bolster profits in recent years, and have been fiercely opposed to adding paid sick time that would require them to hire more staff."

Could the successful resolution of these issues have prevented the East Palestine disaster? Was it a labor shortage issue? We may never know.

Was it an infrastructure issue? I hope not, because in November of 2021, our government passed a $1 trillion infrastructure bill that was supposed to modernize our transportation system and prevent things like this from happening.

Are those funds getting out of Washington and into the states fast enough, or is it being bogged down by the bureaucracy?

There was a lack of urgency in addressing the needs of "Yokel Central" on the front end and now on the back end they are still dragging their feet in addressing an environment disaster impacting the same area.

The residents of East Palestine and Ohioans in general are still in the dark about what's really going on. Ohio Governor Mike Dewine is asking Congress to get involved. The state wasn't even notified that the train had hazardous material on it. This town may never be the same again, but never fear, because Wall Street is reassuring fellow elites that Norfolk Southern's profits and stock price won't suffer from this calamity.

It all adds up to a feeling of despair and abandonment. In a region of the country that has already dealt with losing jobs to offshoring, disinvestment and a fentanyl epidemic, the East Palestine disaster and the response to it is just one more data point that reinforces the fact that elites don't give a damn about Ohio.

Darvio Morrow is the CEO of the FCB Radio Network and co-host of The Outlaws Radio Show.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.