Sunday, August 05, 2007

"When will then be now?"

The Nation BLOG | Posted 08/02/2007 @ 2:20pm
Broken Bridges, Lost Levees and a Brutal Culture of Neglect

...There is simply no question that the steady neglect of the crying need for repair and improvement of bridges, levees and other vital pieces of the nation's infrastructure, and the resolute stinginess of a federal government that is much better at finding money to repair the Middle East than the middle west, makes disasters more likely to occur and more extreme in their consequences.

Minnesota Senator Amy Klobucher is right when she says, "Bridges in America should not be falling down."

They will continue to fall, however, just as aging levies will continue to crumble, until the federal government gets serious about investing in the updating, improvement and replacement of decaying infrastructure. The point here is not to absolve state officials, who in Minnesota -- as in Louisiana two years ago -- could and should have done more. But an "interstate highway system" is, by its nature and by the intents of the founders of the American experiment and their wisest successors, a federal priority.

Major infrastructure challenges, such as maintaining bridges over our mightiest rivers and modernizing levies, ought never be the sole or even the major responsibility of cash-strapped state and local governments. That is a recipe for disaster -- deadly, injurious and damaging disaster of a sort that plays out not just in "headline" events like a bridge collapse but in hundreds of below-the-radar infrastructure failures each year...


Americans don't seem to think "then" will EVER be "now." This is a generation of people that is apparently entirely incapable of seeing the results of their actions. They cannot process simple cause-and-effect relationships beyond their immediate agenda. So American has wasted Trillions-with-a-T of dollars over the past several decades spending money on crap they don't need and ignoring vital repairs and maintenance of things they DO need. Why? Because it's working fine RIGHT NOW. And RIGHT NOW never seems to end in modern minds. In past ages, people did things "for posterity," and "for the benefit of those in the future." But the me-generation baby boomers in control of our government don't care about anything that doesn't affect them personally. For them, the future never gets here - until it comes crashing down seemingly out of the blue.

And it's not just infrastructure. It's not just schools and hospitals. It's not just about peak oil and climate change. No, for some reason modern people are incapable of understanding the effects of ANYTHING they do, from extorting after-the-fact marriage contracts for unwed mothers to removing discipline from schools to refusing to enforce illegal immigration laws.

Nothing in modern society is a problem until it's a disaster.

And that is irresponsible to say the least, class - in fact, that is just plain stupid.

PS - And for those of you who don't know, the quote in the heading of this post is from "Spaceballs, the Movie." Dark Helmet is having one of his subordinates fast forward a VCR tape of "Spaceballs, The Movie" to the point in the movie just past his current scene to figure out where his opponents went. The answer to his question? "Soon!"

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