'Last Week Tonight' Looks At Radioactive Waste Disasters, Potential And Otherwise

By Emily Chambers | Last Week Tonight | August 21, 2017 |


You know, a big part of me was hoping I could just focus on the main story of Last Week Tonight. Because radioactive waste seems like a BFD, and should probably deserve our undivided attention. But you know how the mind of a former English major works; drawing comparisons, making connections, revealing underlying truths that run through all human existence. Also being assholes who think we’re deeper than other people. That too.

So in my best English major attempt: there wasn’t just one radioactive waste disaster featured in last night’s episode, there were two! Dun-dun-duuuuuuuuun! Behold.

And no, that’s not just a crack at Bannon’s unhealthy appearance. It’s actually an assumption based on a line from the news segment done in 1977. That we as a people are slow to react to anything that doesn’t present as a crisis. It’s why Goddamn Harry Reid thinks we’re cool keeping radioactive waste right where it is despite warning for nuclear scientists. Because it’s not killing anyone right now.

We’ll wait until there is a disaster to respond to what has been a widely visible problem for at least forty years. And then we’ll demand to know why this wasn’t addressed earlier, and who’s to blame. The people who have been warning us for thirty years will point to the collective piles of warnings they have been putting out, and we’ll go back to not giving a shit. Because someone else should have been responsible, and if the system didn’t work, it’s on them to fix it. Like how we ended up with a xenophobic, white nationalist advising the President under the guise of “populism” when people of color and poor people have been telling us for forty years that shit is really bad.

We’ve already had one giant disaster of toxicity weaken our national institutions with its corrosiveness, and put people’s lives in danger. For the love of god, Harry Reid, let’s not let another one happen now.



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