Musing my way through a mid summer Friday.

The bridge collapse in Minneapolis hadn’t really impinged upon my conscious as I don’t spend a lot of time on the TV. I have only seen passing references to the disaster on the net until this morning. I guess it was Eugene Robinson’s column in the Washington Post; A Catastrophic Failure that started me thinking…I wish he hadn’t.

I remember as a child being somewhat frightened whenever we drove across a bridge. Most bridges arch up and over the water, railroad tracks, or other obstruction they are crossing, and I always marveled at people’s trust that there really was a continuation of the bridge that they couldn’t see until they passed over it. That is truly having faith. The trust shown by our acceptance that bridges don’t fall down is now on hold…Yes, bridges have always been subject to outside forces causing their collapse, but we trusted that normal wear and tear would be repaired before something catastrophic happened. As I matured I acquired that same level of trust my parents had. After this week, I will probably begin to feel that slight clinching of the gut again as I cross the marvels of our constructive genius. The figure quoted in Mr. Robinson’s column was 27%…27% of America’s bridges have “structural deficiencies” that need to be addressed. One quarter of the bridges we use to get to work, to go to school, to get our goods to market are not being maintained in a manner that we can now assume is sufficient to guarantee our safety.

Hell, and that’s the “good” news. Our damns, our roads, and  our power grid are in worse shape. Is there any wonder that the two men in charge of running the country and insuring our safety have houses that are almost totally self-reliant in regards to energy? They both keep telling us they “know” things we don’t…Who would have thought their knowledge dealt with the American infrastructure’s ability to perform at its design level. I guess it’s time to cut some more taxes so we all can afford the same self-sufficient level of protection. But you know what? Even with a 100% tax break, I don’t think I can hope to create my own little self-sufficient island of protection. I thought that was what my taxes were buying me.

It all looks like what is happening with health insurance. When you allow those that can afford to pay for their own care and those that are “healthy” to opt out of the coverage pool, the cost’s just keep going up for those who can not opt out. Tax cuts for the wealthiest, subsidies and no-bid contracts for the well connected corporations, budget cuts across the board in every department that doesn’t deal with the “war” on terror…What’s left to run the country?

The Houston Chronicle tells me we have one of these worrisome bridges here in Brazoria County. I have driven across it many times. I may have to think twice about that now…

My thoughts and prayers go out to all who were impacted by this disaster.  There is not much any of us can say to those who lost loved ones here…Our words cannot change what is. Just know we do care…

Join the conversation...