Crossville Chronicle, Crossville, TN

February 11, 2014

We teh People: Our attention-deficit Congress

By Bob Hoyt
Chronicle contributor

CROSSVILLE — Some citizens in our country hate the government. At least they say they hate the government. It’s not always clear what they mean by the “government.” Most don’t hate soldiers and sailors. They don’t hate the checks the government sends them. But they don’t want bureaucrats and politicians raising taxes to help fix a few things.

Haters are generally anti-government, anti-science and anti-Obama. They appear to believe that voting for reactionaries will somehow make all the imagined troubles of life disappear into a small puff of old-timey perfection. But voting for the wrong people leads to be being governed by too many rich lawyers and hate mongers. That shouldn’t be difficult to understand.

The near future will bring us more changes than came during all the last century. Technology is growing so steadily and improving so rapidly that few people can keep up with what’s new. That won’t stop. It’s unlikely that we’ll have less government any time soon. But we may develop a different kind of government if our Rip Van Winkle Congress doesn’t wake up before it’s too late. Too many serious topics are presently shoved into ideological cracks and avoided.

For example, attention needs to be devoted to “connected cars.” A connected car can receive information and instructions through an Internet modem installed in the car. They are an early step toward driverless cars or self-driving cars. Why is that important? It’s an extension of technology that could help to eventually avoid the early death of thousands of Americans. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSAA) reports that 33,561 persons were killed in 2012 in traffic accidents. That’s only a few thousand less than the annual number of deaths by suicide in our country. The total number of U.S. forces killed in Iraq and Afghanistan campaigns is smaller than yearly deaths in the U.S. from traffic accidents.

Unfortunately, our present Congress is preoccupied with repealing rules, giving instructions regarding the sexual life of women and blaming every real or imagined world problem on President Obama. Our dysfunctional Congress is doing little about the half a million road crashes each year. It’s easier for them to pretend they don’t notice. That is only one example.

Politicians must learn how to tell the truth to the people rather than spouting promises they can’t keep and offering dreams copied from obsolete trials and errors. Those with capital must invest in an honest education for everyone rather than in corporate jets, long cars and garish mansions for the a few. People must make the effort to learn new things and live with a few rules they may not like for the benefit of the country as a whole.

A different world is coming. Education will be as important as capital. We can choose to re-elect squabbling politicians who argue about things that have little meaning. Or, we can insist that our country should move before we get run over, run down, or overrun by nations with leaders who grasp what the future will be. Leaders who keep blocking progress are obsolete as a Model T Ford high-centered on a run-over boar hog on a mud road. We’re better than that.

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This column represents alternative thoughts to other published columns in the Crossville Chronicle. “We the People” is published each Wednesday. Opinions expressed in “We the People” columns are not necessarily those of the Crossville Chronicle publisher, editor or staff. For more information, contact John Wund, editor, at jwund@frontiernet.net.