While tens of thousands rallied in over 800 cities nationwide to protest wasteful government spending, it seems Barack Obama is running around with his fingers in his ears going “la-la-la-la I-can’t-hear-you-I-can’t-hear-you”.
Why have we come to this conclusion?
Not just because a White House spokesman said yesterday that Mr. Obama is “unaware of any tea parties,” though that would be a good rationale for his childlike behavior.
No, we have determined that Mr. Obama is pretending not to hear us because he’s speaking so fondly of choo-choo-trains. He spoke glowingly this morning about how eight billion of your tax dollars are earmarked for wasting on a nationwide high-speed rail infrastructure that — like Amtrak — no one will ride. Except, maybe, Joe Biden. Maybe.
Taxpayer-subsidized Amtrak has been losing money for decades, and this administration thinks it’s a wise idea to make a new train system.
Obama pitched it to reporters in bubbly, effervescent tones of a utopian wonderland: “Imagine boarding a train in the center of a city — no racing to an airport and across a terminal, no delays, no sitting on the tarmac, no lost luggage, no taking off your shoes. Imagine whisking through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour, walking only a few steps to public transportation, and ending up just blocks from your destination.”
No delays? A government-run operation with no delays? Apparently Mr. Obama hasn’t stood in line at the post office recently, nor is he aware of Amtrak’s miserable record.
No taking off your shoes? Sure. Until the first security threat. (Apparently Mr. Obama forgot the train bombings in Madrid and London. We, however, have not.)
And perhaps he can explain how racing to and across a train station in the center of a city, sitting and waiting at the other stops in other cities on the way to your destination, and doing this at a speed 5 times slower than an airplane is a good thing.
Let us remember one thing: if there was any money in the high-speed train game, some company would already be doing it. Of course, Mr. Obama retorts “This is not some fanciful, pie-in-the-sky vision of the future. It’s happening now. The problem is, it’s happening elsewhere.”
That’s right. It is. But let us also keep in mind that elsewhere is not the United States. Why are these politicians so fascinated by choo-choo-trains? Is it some fond memory of youth? Why can’t they grow up and let America be America?
This reminds us of the 1992 film Singles, but in reverse. Steve, the 20-something bachelor is living in Seattle and working on the gridlock problem. He explains his idea to his tree-hugging save-the-whales girlfriend Linda:
STEVE: Let me ask you a question. You think about traffic? Because I do, constantly. Traffic is caused by the single car driver. Single people get in their cars every morning. They drive and wonder why there’s gridlock. This is what I’ve been working on. If you had a supertrain, you give people a reason to get out of their cars. Coffee, great music… they will park and ride. I know they will.
LINDA: But I still love my car, though.
STEVE: Well… Oh.
Unconvinced, Steve presses on with Mayor Weber:
STEVE: We’re talking about a million people by the time it’s done. Provide an environment safer and better than their cars. Why not, Mr. Mayor?
MAYOR WEBER: So it’s a train.
STEVE: A supertrain.
MAYOR WEBER: I’ve been burned by this train business before. You people all seem to forget….
STEVE (interrupts): We can change this city.
MAYOR WEBER: …people love their cars.
STEVE (stuttering): Yes. But… But if you give them great… great coffee… coffee… And great music. If you…
MAYOR WEBER: I’ll put it to you like this, and then I’ll thank you for your time. My answer is… no.
Director & Writer Cameron Crowe got it. Why can’t real-life politicians? Americans love their cars because cars are freedom. They allow you to go wherever, whenever, and be tied to no one’s schedule but your own. Cars are the ultimate expression of freedom, and in America, even poor people have cars. Why are modern politicians so fascinated with choo-choos like a 6-year-old on Christmas morning? Why are they trying to take one of the things that makes America great — the freedom provided to us by our cars — and turn us into Europe West?
Put down the Lionel, Mr. Obama. Take your fingers out of your ears. Americans don’t want you wasting our money on pet projects. Pet projects like trains that no one will ride.
See also: Let America be America -ed