Thursday, November 13, 2008

An open letter to the president elect

Apparently the Obama transition website welcomes your input and has a
handy way for you to get a message to the transition team.

I've got no earthly idea if any of this will go anywhere other than
into that gigantic internet mail shredder in the sky, but I've never
seen it attempted before, listening to what folks had to say that

So, here's the URL:

Here's what I wrote, guess this is an open letter to the


As one of Reagan's cold war soldiers, I was stationed in Europe, Germany
specifically in the mid-80s. I was something of a bicycle enthusiast
well before that, having been caught up in the bike-boom of the mid-70s.
I rode a fair amount, not a lot, but a reasonable amount all things
considered. I also loved to drive, and driving around Europe in the
mid-80s was a true joy. I bought my fuel on the 'economy', so I knew
quite well what 'high' fuel prices were, a lot more so than most of my
fellow Americans.

In 1990 I think, under President George H. Bush, I settled in one night
to listen to the president describe the 20 year transportation plan. I
knew what he was going to say, but I was really looking forward to
hearing him say it. You see, I had already seen it. In Western Europe. I
was going to listen to the president describe how
we the people were going to fuel a rebirth of the rail industry, because
it's the most fuel efficient way to transport goods. I was going to hear
the president describe how we were going to fuel
incentives to stop ripping up our incredibly valuable agricultural land
in the east to plant more shopping malls and condos, while
destroying what's left of the arid west with insane and unsustainable
irrigation plans, in order to grow the food closer
to where it was needed, in a better and healthier way, thereby
cutting down on the needless and crazy storage and transportation
costs. I was going to hear the president describe how we the people
were going to fuel incentives to get people to co-locate housing
and office space so folks could walk to work, walk to the grocery,
walk to movies, walk to the entertainment, improving our health,
reducing our growing (even then) health care costs. I was going to
hear our president describe how we the people were going to embrace
bicycling, walking, and light rail to move around, and heavy high speed
rail to travel. I was going to hear the president describe how we were
going to stop just burying our natural resources under asphalt, and
where roadways and lots were actually needed, they would be constructed
with paving stone and concrete
in a Western European fashion, spend the money up front, so we didn't
have a failing system as time went on. We were going to
stop burning lights all night long, replace our massive fleets of
semi trucks that are destroying our vital interstate highway system
with lighter lorries and move much more freight on rails. Further,
I was going to hear our president say we were going to pay ourselves
back for these incentives by radically increasing road
fuel taxes once the the newer transportation infrastructures were
approaching feasibility. Driving would become fun again, the highways
safer, the people healthier, happier, the food more plentiful and
nutritional. More people would learn real trades
and skills, farm life -which built our country, and formed our
constitutional law- would again be respected. We would stop
destroying our natural places, our forests, our wild places in
order to fuel growth for growths sake, just for a quick buck
that never comes back. No longer would travel to distant
places be the horror of air travel, but the more civilized, and
social pleasures of travel by rail.

Imagine my surprise when the president, who certainly knew everything I
knew, had seen what I have seen, and was smarter
than I, (he was the president, wasn't he?) described 20 more
years of giveaways to the oil companies and highway construction
cartels. Imagine my disappointment in the complete and total
lack of vision. I was sure that The United States of America
was going to lead the way into the 21st century with a vision
of continental infrastructure that would reach far into the future,
centuries into the future. Instead, I was handed a vision of the
US that would leave us at the end of the 20th century with a broken

My vision for the country? get us started in the direction that will
take to where we should have been, and would have been, had
we had to vision in our leadership at the time.


yeah, yeah, I know. But give me a break, I just dashed this out
in the online form. Not like I spent all night on it. Sure,
sentence structure problems, unclear predicate references and
all that. So, you do better, okay?

No comments: