It has not been another race or another nation which has Invaded the sanctity of life treasured by so many Americans, however. The threat has come from within. Actually, It has always been present, ever since the first European brought with him his obsession with technology and progress; but, as with all things American, enough is never enough. Manifest Destiny has been replaced with Manifest Bigger.
There is more than a hint of this in a recent announcement by Caterpillar that made headlines in the Peoria Journal-Star. Once again, profits for the quarter have broken all previous records. This Is the third mega-profit announcement in a row, a trend which is sweet music to all the worshippers of the goddess Mega.
In the same paper, on the same day, hidden away In the back section, Is a notice of a public hearing by the Illinois EPA regarding a renewal application from Caterpillar. They want a five year renewal of their permit to dump tons of poisons Into the Illinois River. You can be sure of this: the Illinois EPA will not turn them down. (In fact, In an unrelated matter this month, the Illinois EPA did not fine Caterpillar for other infractions detrimental to the health and well-being of the human population. Smaller businesses have not fared so well.)
Frustrating, isn't it? No wonder so many Americans are cynical about their own government! Believe me, It is the same feeling my ancestors had when confronted by yet another treaty commission with yet another list of promises, none of which will be kept.
But Caterpillar just makes tractors. If those tractors smelled as putrid as pig poop from a mega-hog farm, the public would be able to see that the threat to life is the same from both.
How much is enough? Caterpillar would rather break records with profits than clean up their excrement. A mega-hog company from North Carolina wants a facility in central Illinois. So do other mega-hog businesses. Why? So they can make mega-profits.
Quite apart from odor and pollution threats, is it necessary to treat living animals like machines, with no regard for their heartbeats, just to put pork on the market? Of course not. There has never been a shortage of pork, and as far as my family is concerned, pork will no longer be consumed.
Nevertheless, in the words of one of my ancestors when describing the white invaders, "They keep coming." County boards will scream. The State of Illinois will legislate. Farmers who go into mega-hog production will be licensed and certified by the State. Regulations will abound, and so will mega hog farms, complete with smell and water pollution.
After all, Manifest Bigger is part of the American Dream.
And at some point in time, water and air will be more precious to Americans than their 401K's.