In Jackson, Mississippi, some 150,000 people recently lost their access to clean water as filthy, foul-smelling sludge dripped from their taps. The shortage went on for two weeks, but it’s part of a much longer-running crisis in the city — and far beyond it.

This week in OtherWords, Farrah Hassen surveys America’s roiling water crisis from Michigan to Mississippi to tribal communities, a national shame that’s left 2 million of us without running water — including 1 in 10 Native Americans. In her must-read op-ed, Farrah explains how neglect, environmental racism, climate change, and corporate privatization have accelerated the crisis — and argues that only recognizing water as a human right can fix it.

Meanwhile, single mom Maureen Bowling shares how the social safety net — including the now expired Child Tax Credit — helped her escape homelessness and domestic abuse to provide for her kids and earn a Master’s degree, even during the worst of the pandemic. If we believe in the American Dream, she argues, we need to rebuild and expand that net.

Finally, Mitchell Zimmerman explains how anyone can debunk Donald Trump’s big lie about the 2020 election. Jim Hightower connects the spread of lies like these to the decline of real local newspapers. And cartoonist Khalil Bendib imagines Trump as an 800-pound gorilla looming over the upcoming elections.

P.S. I’m feeling much better this week! Thanks to all who sent kind notes as my family and I recovered from COVID-19.

New This Week…

Safe Tap Water Should Be a Human Right | Farrah Hassen
But from Michigan to Mississippi to tribal communities in the West, millions of Americans don’t have it.

Revive the Child Tax Credit. Our Children Deserve Nothing Less. | Maureen Bowling
Those monthly payments made the American Dream possible for millions of families, including mine.

Democrats and Republicans Agree on One Thing: Democracy Is In Crisis | Mitchell Zimmerman
But we’re polarized on what the crisis is — and one side’s dead wrong.

The Collapse of Local Newspapers Helps Hacks Spread Lies | Jim Hightower
“Critical race theory” panic owes its rise to thousands of fake websites filling the gaps left by real, independent newspapers.

The 800 Pound Gorilla | Khalil Bendib
It’s never about the issues with these people.

In Case You Missed It…

Census Data Proves Anti-Poverty Measures Work | Shailly Gupta Barnes
But to truly end poverty, we must do more — and if poor people and their allies come together, we can.

Democrats Need to Keep Their Promises on Marijuana Reform | Paul Armentano
The politics of ending cannabis prohibition are good. The policy is even better.

The GOP’s 2022 Platform Is a Grab Bag of Nuttiness | Jim Hightower
When not attacking the Muppets, the party’s leading figures have spent the year laying out plans to tax the poor and eliminate Social Security.

Close the Medicaid Coverage Gap | Anthony Cook
Over 2 million Americans like me are stuck without health care because 12 GOP-ruled states keep refusing to expand Medicaid.

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Peter Certo

Peter Certo is the editorial manager of the Institute for Policy Studies and editor of OtherWords.org.

OtherWords commentaries are free to re-publish in print and online — all it takes is a simple attribution to OtherWords.org. To get a roundup of our work each Wednesday, sign up for our free weekly newsletter here.