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My thoughts on everything from albacore tuna to zebras
#488538 added February 17, 2007 at 8:04am
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Pay No Attention To The Man Behind...
The Curtain. The cold has caused his brain to freeze.

         Snow is snow, and rain is rain, and the combination of the two and plummeting temperatures make for a mess like you couldn’t believe. As I write this I sit comfortable in my warm home, belly full from a most excellent meal (my compliments to the chef – me!), not concerned in the least what tomorrow will bring. Granted, I should be on the road right now heading to visit my parents for the weekend, but all the major interstates that could get me there are closed.

         They have been closed for the past two days. And if the news media is accurate they will be closed again tomorrow. These are the major arteries for the eastern half of the state. People were stranded in their cars and trucks overnight in bitter cold temperatures. We’re not talking four or five people here; we are talking hundreds, if not thousands; little children, diabetics, senior citizens (in one case a busload of senior citizens). There were acts of kindness by complete strangers. There was frustration. There was anger. Their stories will emerge over the next few days. The National Guard was mobilized. Emergency workers worked around the clock. Transportation employees worked around the clock (and still are). The roads are still not open.

         “How could this happen?” That is the question on everyone’s mind. The Governor says, “This is unacceptable.” Mild words for such a drastic situation in my opinion. He says he accepts full responsibility; as well he should. He promises an investigation and I’m sure there will be one. In the end, some poor sap will get the boot. Whether it is the right poor sap, remains to be seen.

         So who is to blame?

         Well, we could blame:

         *Snow2*That danged groundhog that said winter was over on February 2nd

         *Snow2*Somebody at the Department of Transportation who didn’t get the trucks out early enough – the too little too late syndrome

         *Snow2*Mother Nature – The tenacity and the ferocity of the storm surprised many

         *Snow2*The drivers who didn’t research their trips well enough before leaving. Even today, people were arriving from New Jersey, unaware that the Interstates were shut down

         *Snow2*The State Police for not shutting the highways down quick enough

         *Snow2*The people on the road with no particular reason to be there – you know who you are

         *Snow2*Global warming – hey, why not?

         *Snow2*The politicians. – The State House of Representatives closed for two days. (They were the smart ones.) The State Government in Harrisburg closed for one day. Should have been two but no politician wants to explain why he gave all the civil service employees two paid days off. (disclaimer: I am a civil servant)

         But does it really matter who we blame?

         Bottom line is, this was a situation that never should have happened. Was it preventable? Don’t know. Maybe, Maybe not. You sure couldn’t prevent the storm but you could have lessened the impact it had on people. The Government is the custodian of the state. It is their responsibility to take care of the populace…even the ones visiting from New Jersey. (You have no idea how much it pains me to say that last part.). When the government fails in its duties it’s time for the populace to take a long hard look at its government and make the changes that need to be made. It’s time for the government to listen to its citizens and respond with changes of its own.

         Will anything change? I hope so, because right now Pennsylvania’s reputation isn’t fairing so well. The Governor is right. It is unacceptable to leave people stranded on the highways of Pennsylvania for over twenty-four hours especially when it occurs within 25 miles of the Capitol.

         It is unacceptable for people in decision-making positions to not make decisions.

         It is unacceptable for individuals to not accept responsibility for their actions or inactions.

         We have, as individuals, become blameless. It is far too easy to point the finger elsewhere. It is far too easy to blame our individual shortcomings, our individual errors on someone else or on the ethereal “they”. Buck up. Tighten your belt. Pull up your shorts and if you screwed up, admit it.

         It is unacceptable to leave hundreds of motorists stranded on the highways of Pennsylvania.

         The Pennsylvanians I know simply will not accept that.

© Copyright 2007 Rasputin (UN: joeumholtz at Writing.Com). All rights reserved.
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