ECONOMIC BOOSTERS PROPOSE TO EXPAND HOSPITAL RESEARCH CAMPUS AT THE EXPENSE OF THE POOR

Wealthy medical corporations are casting covetous eyes on the low income neighborhood south and east of the hospital/medical research complex in northeastern Oklahoma City. They want to expand their medical research campus, and once again, the neighborhoods of the poor are being offered up on the Molechian altar of "economic development."

The proposal to destroy the neighborhood around the hospital district in northeast Oklahoma City using eminent domain is the latest "reverse Robin Hood" scheme of the rich and politically well connected to steal from the poor and give to the powerful. The constant destruction of housing by government for a wide variety of economic development schemes causes enormous problems for the poor because they lead to higher rents. Poor people have no discretionary income, so higher rents are a serious economic problem for low income people, who are already suffering because of high energy costs. Economic stress is a well-documented driver of violence against women and children, drug and alcohol abuse, divorce, crime, and abortion. None of these costs will be accounted for by the medical research corporations and the politicians that will profit from this research park expansion at the expense of low income housing, but the externalized costs will nevertheless be paid in full, the price will not be cheap, and it will be paid by the weakest and most vulnerable among us.

We are told that the glorious end of medical research justifies this unsavory means. These poor people that have to get out of the way of the medical research expansion are just, you know, collateral damage. It's sad but somebody has to suffer so that the glorious end of big profits through industrialized corporation medicine can prosper. (Notice how it is always poor people who are the collateral damage in these economic development schemes, it is never the wealthy and the prosperous.) In any event, rich white doctors and their medical corporations have a long history of stealing land from the poor (and from African Americans in particular) in Oklahoma City, so we shouldn't be surprised that the best idea they could come up with involves destroying even more low income housing.

Some people believe that economic development trumps all considerations of morality, but if that is true, perhaps we should legalize prostitution and promote Oklahoma City as the sex tour capital of the world! That is a shocking and scandalous thought, but there is no moral difference between promoting sex "for economic development purposes" and destroying the neighborhoods of low income people "for economic development purposes". Both actions are morally wrong, but we destroy low income neighborhoods all the time and don't even think twice about the consequences. That moral carelessness is a measure of the demonic strength of the culture of death here in central Oklahoma.

I encourage everybody to contact the Mayor and City Council to oppose this proposal. Ask them: How many children are they are willing to kill for their medical research profits? Mayor Mick Cornett, mayor@okc.gov , 200 N. Walker, OKC, OKC 73102. City council persons can be contacted at the same mailing address. RMW

HOME | Summer 2006 Catholic Worker