August 2, 2007
What a shock this morning to open up the New York Times and see an interstate span over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis had collapsed. And then to proceed to CNN’s Breaking News to see and hear the live reports. I begin to see all over again the World Trade Towers coming down, though obviously, this bridge span collapse has less impact on us as a nation and less loss of life associated.
After somewhat assimilating the human drama being enacted before my eyes this morning and observing my mind and body jump to scenes of unlikely to unreal occurrences in recent movies such as Live Free and Die Hard and X-Men, The Last Stand where landmark bridges such as the Golden Gate and major interstate freeway exchange spans were collapsing while amazing feats of survival were being accomplished, I returned to intuitive hits I’ve had in the recent past. These flashes of insight I've had more and more often have involved a realization that our “great society” goal of the sixties--that of building roads, bridges, and rockets into “new frontiers” for mankind may have been somewhat lofty.
And that the roads, bridges, rockets (and planes) that were built during the sixties—that time of great expansion (and perhaps overly grandiose confidence in our ability to master human physical limitations), were now suffering the stress and fatigue of forty years of use. I recognized that I and many others of my generation (baby-boomers) have labored under an illusion that these miracles of modern engineering and technology were here to stay, impenetrable—everlasting. Surely these were monumental enterprises which would be standing long after mine and my progeny’s need for them. Certainly they were better designed for long term use than historical buildings such as the famed cathedrals of Europe, et al, which must have been built with inferior and antiquated engineering and architectural design. Right?
At one point, as discussions of our nation’s deficient and deteriorating electrical grid brought to light the precariousness of our current system’s dependability, and I recognized the fragility of our economic structure just in terms of a major loss of computerized data (Y2K), I begin to digest the realization that our blatant inattention to the requirements of sustaining what was built in those early years of our “going where no [one] has gone before", had placed us on the brink of disaster. The seemingly unrelated horror of 9-11 sealed that awful knowledge in a heart-binding kind of cognitive restructuring, but the true heart-break was in the events following.
I’m talking about the immediate use of our shock and overwhelm to insert an egregious program that placed us on a steady course to war in Iraq. It has been downhill from there, people! We find our infrastructure collapsing all around us—roads, bridges, buildings, levees—and our leadership concentrating on its own agenda of avarice and greed for power. Empire building? Well, Nero fiddled while Rome and its empire burned, so they say. I must say, my fellow Americans—my fellow members of the human race, I am, at this point, unfalteringly focused in concern for our well-being!
It is certainly time that we as individuals take on the personal responsibility of stepping up to the plate and seeing that the true needs of our society are acknowledged and given the care and attention they need. It is time that we each begin to be true adults and not latch-key children dependent on slightly older adolescent siblings for our care and feeding. Yes, sorry to say, it appears our leader-caretakers are no more capable or responsible than slightly older siblings left in charge—older adolescents with obvious issues of entitlement, whose attention to their own grandiose agendas far outweighs that they give to our needs for sustenance. It is time that we grow up and face the deterioration and damage to our society’s infrastructure and use our own ingenuity for resolving these most pressing needs for care and repair.