It’s Time to Shape up.

Those of us who are trying to get more and better and faster passenger trains keep getting opposition from both members of the public and some elected officials. They oppose more funding for passenger trains because they don’t need them and they don’t care if others do. It’s the same mentality displayed by those who oppose more tax dollars for public schools because they don’t have kids in public school.
There are still some members of Congress who think that by subsidizing Amtrak, they’re subsidizing my pleasure travel around the country. That’s nonsense. I’m paying full freight and then some for that little roomette. But of course, they ARE subsidizing those 200 people back there in the coaches and that is as it should be. For most people traveling in coach, Amtrak is the only affordable public transportation they’ve got. Still, many members of Congress and a chunk of the general public continue to oppose any subsidy for Amtrak.
My last year of public schooling was the 6th grade. I’ll guess there were perhaps 20 of us in that class. Twenty-five at the most. Today, kids in many of our public schools are in classes with as many as 50, particularly inner city schools.
Still, there are folks who vote against any increase in property taxes because they don’t have kids in public schools. Or there’s one guy—and I actually know him—who votes against more money for teachers because public school teachers in Hawaii are unionized and he hates all unions. Isn’t that swell.
It’s not just trains and class size anymore. We—and by “we” I mean all of us from both political parties—had damn well better start thinking more about the common good and less about our personal political philosophies and selfish desires.
Tick! tick! tick!

(Note please: I am in the final stretch of having to meet my publisher’s deadline for the book about Hawaii I’ve been working on. I regret that most of my writing time over the next 10 days will be required to meet that deadline. Your understanding will be much appreciated.)