Arguing With People Who Have No Shame

There is a petition being circulated in Honolulu by people who are against the city building a mass transit system for which there is an almost desperate need. In an astonishing lack of leadership, our governor, Linda Lingle, a Republican, just signed the damn thing!

Furthermore, people of the same ilk continue to oppose all forms of rail transportation across the rest of the country. There is bitter irony and a helluva lot of hypocrisy in that opposition, too.

For years – in fact, for more than 50 years – taxpayers have heavily subsidized roads and cars. In that same time, rail has been systematically starved, the most recent example being the Bush Administration’s attempt to cut Amtrak’s current subsidy by 40 percent. If Congress had allowed that to happen, Amtrak would have shut down by now.

Got the picture? Our government heavily subsidizes cars and roads while it starves rail and – here’s the irony – the anti-rail people demand ever more money for roads and oppose rail because, they say, there are more drivers than rail passengers.

It’s amazing, isn’t it? We continue to debate and argue an issue that has long since been settled everywhere else in the world, where governments continue to make major investment in commuter and high-speed rail service.

I think about this whenever I hear blowhard politicians bragging about how great we are. Some of these arrogant clowns just don’t understand that we might be able to learn a thing or two from some of these other countries.