Matthew Dowd
3 min readMay 11, 2021

America has a “Mold” problem

Black mold is one of the most concerning problems a homeowner and their family might encounter. It is not only ugly and unsightly, it creates a toxic health environment and can damage interior walls and could ultimately make a home unlivable. Black mold can start out as a very small concern, in the beginning fairly easy to be dealt with, but if ignored can become a huge predicament for the homeowner.

Just a few spores growing in a dark environment like a basement or crawlspace if left untended to or unknown, can rapidly grow and become completely out of control. You could hire a ignorant contractor who lies to you and says you can just paint over it and everything will be fine. Who then talks you into focusing on other things like replacing light fixtures, or doing landscaping, or something cosmetic because he doesn’t want you to worry too much about the mold.

Or you could engage someone reputable who tells you the truth and says the mold must be removed, that the inherent causes of it must be addressed, some walls or boards may even need to go. And the best way to keep it from coming back is fresh air, constant care, and a regular check on if any spores are still living. The first contractor might make you feel good, cost you less, and be less trouble, but it is the second contractor who will ultimately fix the problem and make your home livable again.

We have a “black mold” moment in America today. The rise of anti-truth, anti-democratic voters, politicians and some media is a dangerous concern for our house of democracy. Not only is it ugly and unappealing to a majority, it is a huge cause of concern for the longterm health of our republic. This black mold started out in the dark as a few spores of lies and conspiracy and hate, but it was left untended for too long, and now must be dealt with a serious and clear way.

The first step we must pursue is for each of us seeing the problem clearly and telling the truth about the issue facing our country. We need to be completely honest about what has infiltrated our democracy, and the damage being done, and clearly identify the source of the problem.

The second step is as citizens when we vote for candidates, in this case hiring a contractor to fix the problem, we can either find someone who doesn’t give us the facts, paints over the problem, and never addresses the causes and the widespread damage that has been done to our democracy. It might be easier in the short-term to look the other way, but in the long-term our home of democracy won’t be livable.

The other contractor we could vote for is the one who tells us the truth, wants to bring the problem to the light of day, fundamentally wants to clean up the root cause of the concern, and possibly even tell us certain structures must be removed. Selecting leaders of integrity in this moment who will give us facts, do the hard work of clean up and putting in place protocols so that the “mold” doesn’t grow back is absolutely key.

And the third step as citizens who live in this democracy is it is imperative we consume news information that is fact based, tells us the truth about the problem, and doesn’t slide into the easy dynamic that choosing either contractor is ok in this moment. It is absolutely essential that we support news platforms which don’t see each side in this “black mold” battle as equal in any way. And having people on news platforms who don’t tell the truth about the problem and just want to paint it over will only contribute to the ill health of our nation.

Yes, the work ahead of the cleanup is going to be tough, and it will take time to restore our democratic home to a healthy condition, but if we want it safe for our children and grandchildren it is the only way out of this mess. It is time each of us accept the truth about what is occurring, and bring our bleach, brushes, and buckets to the halls of power.