Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Comments about Care and Repair

I have pasted to this blog a post I made at another site ("Care and Repair--the Collapse of our Infrastructure") because it drew comments that are more appropriate for the focus of this blog--the focus of "finding your own voice" for speaking (and writing) responsibly and intelligently (with "emotional intelligence") about our deepest values and our most passionate hopes and dreams for the future of our country and for the future of the world.

Below I am pasting the comments to that article so that they can be viewed here and the comments and conversation can continue for any who would like to contribute (Sorry, the comments didn't paste over with original paragraph breaks! Hope you can read them!)

P.L. Frederick said...
Yes, the U.S. government currently spends billions and billions of dollars per year on overt warring; preferring to ram Christianity down the throats of its Muslim brothers and sisters. Maintaining U.S. roads and infrastructure, providing sufficient rescue during and after the Katrina tragedy, and listening to advisors, intelligence, and citizens isn't a priority for this administration. How ironic that Christianity, the supposed platform of the Bush Jr. administration, is about peace and love.Your Nero reference is interesting to ponder. P.L. FrederickSMALL & big
August 3, 2007 9:31 AM

P.L. Frederick said...
Also, about roads and infrastructure: Ancient buildings of stone can and do survive for thousands of years—while our own public structures of asphalt, wood, and steel, without proper care, might last a generation. Our buildings are built to withstand earthquakes, not time. We build 'em fast and furious and plan to put our money into maintaining and fixing them up. Trouble is, we often don't.P.L. FrederickSMALL & big
August 3, 2007 9:33 AM

In her own Voice said...
PL,[How ironic that Christianity, the supposed platform of the Bush Jr. administration, is about peace and love.]Isn't it, though!Nero--that image really impressed me as a youngster studying World History.
August 3, 2007 11:27 AM

In her own Voice said...
PL[while our own public structures of asphalt, wood, and steel, without proper care, might last a generation.]So much for the native American concept of choosing solutions that are for the good of all to come for the next seven generations, huh?
August 3, 2007 11:30 AM

yours truly said...
I am fully with you on this one sistah! How sad something this horrific has to happen before prevention processes are put into place and people take note... The Katrina tragedy has never been fixed, just glossed over and forgotten. And what of true importance has been dealt with to our satisfaction in this administration? I can see nothing. The attorney general situation, case in point! Signing statements to condone torture and negate accountability...It's painful to watch. People feel hopeless, become despondent and stop trying to seek justice for acts committed by an administration who's members are seemingly above the law. Oops...I think I've digressed sufficiently from the original point here!
August 3, 2007 10:48 PM

In her own Voice said...
Digress? Easy to do, yt, the list of unconscionable acts just goes on and on, ad nauseum. Well "ad nauseum" doesn't come close to describing the assault on my sense of values during this whole bloody reign! Yes, reign--one of my responders by email said this leadership "team" acts with the sense of entitlement that comes from believing they are "the royal family/nobility who only pretend to have our best interests at heart".
August 4, 2007 1:18 AM

Confessions from the sandwich generation said...
First, I love your commentary. I can't figure out why we're still in this stupid war when everyone I meet thinks it's insanity. The infrastructure that's crumbling isn't just our roads and bridges and buildings--in my opinion, it's also the infrastructure of our government model. Too many abuses of the system and too many failures. Also, got your message and I apologize for not getting back to you. Busy with funerals and sickness. I'm back with a new posting.
August 6, 2007 1:33 AM

In her own Voice said...
sandwich,agreed on the government system's infrastructure being seriously out of whack and facing failure--I'd go so far as to say the global economy is in much the same condition--more on that later!I guessed something might have been going on with you when I didn't hear back from you. Sorry to hear you had personal losses!
August 6, 2007 12:51 PM

Kent said...
What I'm getting from all of you is that we should focus on fixing our bridges, waste a couple billion more dollars in New Orleans, increase spending on entitlement programs across the board and just sit back and wait for the terrorists to attack us again.That's not very 'progressive.'It strikes me that George W. Bush is a progressive. Liberating Muslims from a brutal regime? That certainly isn't a conservative idea. And the inability to recognize the good, the ability to see and realize the positive, even though you might disagree, isn't progressive. Nor is it tolerant. Feminists around the world should admire and embrace President Bush for enabling millions of Muslim women to be free. Yet somehow with the perverted logic of the Left, Bush is a nazi and war criminal.It doesn't add up.Quite simply, there is so much to do that the government can't deal with all of it. And while we all agree on the importance of infrastructure, it is the responsibility of the governors of individual states to maintain their own infrastructure. In the case of Minnesota, they were in the process of repairing the I-35 bridge. And there are hundreds of thousands of bridges across America that are 40+ years old and older that are badly in need of repair.But I'd like to focus my remarks here on the comments made her by Yours Truly. Apparently YT is unaware that US Attorneys are political appointees, and as such, serve at the pleasure of the President.Back in 1993 Bill Clinton and his Attorney General Janet Reno fired all 93 US Attorneys and nobody batted an eyelash. Bush and Gonzales fired 8 US Attorneys and, in the eyes of a vocal minority, it's a scandal.With Katrina, Bush has taken a beating. FEMA was ill prepared, but (and this is a big but, largely overlooked) they had no lead time. FEMA was only called in by Lousiana's governor, Kathleen Blanco, a Democrat by the way, until after the storm had hit New Orleans. Blanco was also late in deploying Louisiana National Guard troops to prevent looting and violence. (Her anemic leadership has forced her not to seek re-election.)And what to make of New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, another Democrat, who failed to deploy hundreds to school buses to evacuate thousands of people from the flooded areas before the storm?It's popular and easy to blame Bush. But it is largely inaccurate.Then YT wrote: 'And what of true importance has been dealt with to our satisfaction in this administration? I can see nothing.'Nothing of importance? How about national security? How about the strongest economy in American history? With all due respect, I'd say Yours Truly is woefully uninformed.What concerns me in the current political climate is the inability of some to apply common sense and logic to America's problems. Many people wear the 'progressive' mantle, but they advocate only the status quo. That's not very progressive.Audrey you are a wonderful writer. Thank you for the kind words about my writing and I'm glad your stopped by my blog. I hope you'll visit frequently.
August 7, 2007 4:28 PM

yours truly said...
Obviously, Kent and I are coming from opposite perspectives, however I can only respond to the “facts” I am presented with, just as every other American. My perception is based on a liberal viewpoint, however I was a young republican over 20-something years ago so have watched from both sides of the fence. As I see it, a knee jerk reaction took us into a war that has no true bearing on retaliation for 9/11. So why do we remain? If we as a nation have decided to become the moral police, then what of Darfur, where atrocities against humanity are committed daily? Is it not our moral responsibility then to strong arm China into stabilizing the Sudan and ending the massacre of innocents? Why haven’t we? And what of trade with China, why haven’t we insisted on fair access to their consumers as they have to ours, and if we are the moral police, why indeed do we ignore their own environmental and human rights abuses and trade with them at all? It is absolutely irresponsible and ludicrous to say we are strong economically when we are currently $97 billion in debt to China for this moral war, and when you consider our debtors own human rights deficits, the irony is staggering. In terms of the average American and his ability to eek out a decent standard of living (having been a corporate recruiter for 15 years I have first hand experience), the accessibility of healthcare and stability of pensions, salary and home price ratios are vastly disproportionate and effecting the middle class negatively on all fronts. National security? I personally can never condone torture, the lowest form of humanity, nor domestic surveillance. These constitute fear tactics only, nothing more. Have motivated terrorists ever been deterred by fear tactics? In regard to the AG, Gonzalez, who is plainly a lackey to the Bush administration, I am not so disturbed by the terminations as his blatant disregard for honesty in the face of a congressional committee. Doesn't this bother you? I am not blaming the administration for the collapsing infrastructure nor Katrina, although they are responsible for the homefront, some delays and mishaps are to be expected, but not to the degree that we appear more like a third world country than the greatest nation in the world, as we are so apt to proclaim. I am only seeking an administration that provides straight talk, that is not negotiating on behalf of corporate profits instead of the American people, and that is not subject to the whims of corporate lobbyists.So why haven’t I been satisfied with this administration from day one? A so called moral war while ignoring human rights abuses in China and Darfur, the ever-rising deficit, tax cuts to the extreme rich, lack of fiscal responsibility, total disregard for using diplomatic efforts for peace, an administration that is above the law, selling arms to the Saudi’s who in turn refuse to assist us in Iraq, disregard for environmental protection, no bid contracts, disregard for healthcare and pension security, and the ever-widening divisions among Americans … the list goes on. We are only defined by our actions. This is my perspective. I beg to be enlightened.
August 8, 2007 9:54 AM

In Search of Authenticity said...
Kent, if I understand you correctly you are suggesting that “fixing our bridges or spending tax dollars on rebuilding an American city (New Orleans), a significant part of which has been destroyed, would result in our country just sitting back and waiting for the terrorists to attack the U.S. again.If I imagine the United States that your vision describes, it seems to look a whole lot like a country destroyed by terrorists. It would include buildings and bridges turned to rubble. I see things like roads and the power grid in shambles with immense suffering, very much like what has happened in New Orleans, occurring across the nation. That does not describe an effective terrorist attack on a carefully chosen, high value political target, rather it is a vision of mass destruction across all of the United States. In fact, it is a vision very similar to what Iraq looks like today.If that is the vision you have for this country and that you are asking us to adopt as our own, it doesn’t seem particularly progressive or attractive to me. This nation enjoys incredible comfort and wealth because of the investment of previous generations of Americans in our country’s infrastructure. Their selfless sacrifice of the use of their tax dollars has made possible our current quality of life. Don’t you think we have an obligation to our children to at least maintain that infrastructure so they can have the same benefits in the future?Your choice is to spend our tax dollars on destroying and occupying Iraq. Occupying forces are always hated. What would your reaction be if the roles were reversed? Do you have enough ability at imagining how others feel to consider what you would do if a foreign country invaded ours? I expect I would join the U.S. citizen insurgency. What if your parents or children were innocently killed by this foreign occupying force? I’m afraid my hatred towards those who killed my loved ones could even become so pathological that I might want to slip into their country and seek revenge in a big way. No my friend, I cannot buy into your vision. To do so would be to grant victory to the terrorists. It would turn our country into a shell of itself in a way their attacks never could. Certainly we must be vigilant and oppose and protect against terrorism. But we will never win this so called war on terror with military force. It is an ideological struggle where we either figure out how to live together in peace as Muslims, Christians, Jews, Buddists and secular humanists, etc. or we destroy the human race in constantly escalating acts of state-sponsored terrorism. I must reject your vision of our future.
August 8, 2007 1:30 PM

In her own Voice said...

First I want to thank you for devoting considerable time and attention to my concerns about the safety and well-being of the American people—concerns that were raised by the interstate bridge collapse in Minneapolis. I also want to thank you for your compliments on my writing skills.

Although I understand political debate and editorial comment is your passion and an area in which you are honing your skills, my intention for writing this piece was not, in any way geared to initiate a debate of an adversarial nature. It was, on the contrary, more a venue for me to express my feelings of shock and grief about such an unexpected and unprecedented occurrence as the collapse of an Interstate Mississippi River bridge—an integral part of a highway and bridge system whose safety and maintenance I and most people in this country have learned to trust in the same way we were given to trust authorities and governmental leadership as children to be wise and responsible--dependable. It seems more and more in these years since the turn of the century, we have been forced to witness and adapt to disastrous occurrences far outside the range of normal or, at least, usual experience. We could at the least hope that those preventable disasters would be held in check by the authorities to whom we have entrusted our confidence and collective funds.

I have visited national parks in other countries and naively or unwittingly stepped out onto shaky metal stairways down sheer sides of cliffs to catch the scenic view of a cascading waterfall, only to realize later I may have been dangerously at risk since these park systems may not be designed or responsibly maintained according to the same strict standards of our parks here in America. So imagine my horror at having to witness one incident after another that undercuts that confidence I have obediently (and apparently, mistakenly) given to the authorities, the leadership of our country to protect the security of our everyday lives! Just in the simple and clear cut areas of the safety and maintenance of the structures we depend upon each day to conduct our affairs—whether that be roads and bridges, or buildings and levees!

And of equal concern is the security of our economy as the dollar’s value continues to fall and we become perilously dependent on foreign loans to fund ever increasing expenditures towards the occupation of a country invaded to seize oil resources and increase the profits of big oil corporations for the few, while the many live in increased indebtedness without access to the same privileges provided to the “corporate citizens” of our country. This shift in our socio-economic structure from the stable and affluent, integrated system of the recent past to one that is more like what we’d expect from the governments of Central and South America where small percentages of wealthy privileged people who have powerful political connections dominate while mass numbers live in abject poverty is not my vision for America’s (or mine and my adult children’s) future. And this is certainly not a future I am willing to sacrifice their lives for in the military occupation of a country who resents and mistrusts our presence there (along with most of the rest of the world). It is not surprising that we have terrorist activity in the U.S.—it is surprising that we don’t have more!

I appreciate you stopping by. You’ve certainly stirred a debate here among others commenting in this section—and I appreciate all of you who have made a fearless search and statement of your own values here. That is what I’d like to see us do in the blog I’ve created called “Finding your own Voice” which is at: Maybe we could carry on this conversation (and more) at that blog!

No comments: