Sunday, August 05, 2007

Reflecting upon the Minneapolis Bridge Collapse

When I think now of the tragic collapse of the I-35 Bridge in Minneapolis now I think of a way of life we live in and look at in the U.S. today. My visions are not of one bridge or many bridges, but rather of how we look at our infrastructures and economies in general as well as how we see our connections as "people" together and separately.

I remember being in Switzerland as a child and hearing my parents talk afterwards of how the Swiss were planning the highways, train system and similar for the coming decades to meet the perceived needs of the country for the long-term future. I also remember being in Israel 25+ years ago and hearing how then (at least) it was not possible for people to speculate investing in land around the major urban areas to profit from and control the economic development of the country.

In the U.S. we far, far most commonly live in a variety of worlds of what I would call "smoke and mirrors". Our major corporations often must look for short-term profits, else their leadership will be replaced. Our large industries of the past such as the automobile industry have huge numbers of retiries who are dependent upon health benefits and pensions that seemingly will not be payable for the long-term.

We have plenty of long-term needs in this country for things that are being deferred or otherwise underfunded including our bridges and highways. We have necessary immediate needs such as the funding of our wars and military. We also have bleeding cancers such as our healthcare system and our general system for our military veterans where we never seem to solve the basic issues that remain unpaid for and not planned for.

I am 56 years old. My generation is beginning to "get old" and be replaced in the workplace by my 20 year old son's generation. Twenty to thirty years from now those who are working are not going to want to pay for the healthcare and other needs of my generation. We should be saving as a society for the debt needs of the future.

Some individuals are saving for the future. As a society though we are borrowing and deferring things to the future - both individually and within our government entities and similar.

The solutions to many of our problems are both complex and simple. We need to end the power of those who look at our lives through microcosms of "looking out for themselves" (only) and seeing life in naive visions of the past (fictional) worlds of the past.

We live in a world now where many people have many major health needs in some cases related to lifestyle choices that they make, but in other cases related to luck. We can not afford indivually to pay for the huge costs of cancers, birth defects, diabetes, heart conditions and many other ailments.

We live in worlds of many people who are not super wealthy and can not afford to pay the huge costs that exist for housing, healthcare and other major expenses in their lives. We need to change our taxation systems so that those who have money pay sufficient taxes to support our needs for now and for our future lives in the coming decades.

We need to recognize that "we" are people who are not Mostly White, Christian, in their 20's, 30's and 40's, Heterosexually Married with 2 Children, in good health, while some of us are that way and we all need to figure out better ways to live together.

In our current worlds we have the ability to dialogue and work together through our politicians, schools, places of worship and in many other places. It is hard, but we need to start working out our problems from the local level to national and international levels of our lives.

We have many things we an improve in our society. We can have a rational healthcare system. We can have a political system which isn't controled by "payoffs" to politicians and others to get short-term and long-term gains for the few at the cost of the many. We can help families raise healthy children who get healthcare, education and a way-of-life that celebrates the natural beauties of our lands and our spirits and hearts, rather than simply - television, video games, professional sports - and a craving for that which we never seem to have - the "beauty industry" of the perfect bodies of thinness and whatever - in the distance beyond.

Getting there is difficult - we need to try!


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