Sunday, December 18, 2011

The end of top-down politics in High-Speed Rail

Thomas Friedman had an interesting column in the NYT today (Sunday).  Basically, it's about the transformation of politics and society in this new world of the 21st century.  It's not just the Arab Spring, or the Occupy Wall Street, or even the Tea Party movement.  It's about the People rejecting top-down governance. And it is a global phenomenon.

“The days of leading countries or companies via a one-way conversation are over,” says Dov Seidman, the C.E.O. of LRN and the author of the book “How.” “The old system of ‘command and control’ — using carrots and sticks — to exert power over people is fast being replaced by ‘connect and collaborate’ — to generate power through people.” Leaders and managers cannot just impose their will, adds Seidman. “Now you have to have a two-way conversation that connects deeply with your citizens or customers or employees.”

My point, on this week-end, is that the high-speed rail project is currently being pushed down our collective throats. Yes, in California, in order to win that vote, the voters were lied to.  That is not the voice of the people.  That is rigging the elections, just as they do in pretend Democracies that are really dictatorships.  

You can sugar-coat the language of AB304 and Proposition 1A, but even the Appellate Court defined this legislation as marketing hype, although not in those words. And, as we all know, the latest poll indicates that the voters of California now know better and, given the chance, would reject this project out of hand.

What we are hearing from the Administration and from the Democrats, both in Washington and in Sacramento, including our Governor, is that it makes no difference that the CHSRA is incompetent, mismanaged or corrupt. 

That attitude is from yesterday; it's from the 20th century, not 21st century.  Now we expect our elected officials to stop lying to us, to pay attention to the truth, and listen to us who voted them into office in the first place.  We are tired of being used.

I have been a faithful Democratic voter all of my adult life.  This coming November, that will change.  I need the voices of my colleagues and myself to be heard, not dismissed by Ray LaHood or Joe Szabo.   It will give President Obama no benefit if he supports a failing program that makes no sense and does so much more harm than good.

The message here is that the high-speed rail program in Washington, and the HSR project in California, are definable failures waiting to happen.  While they are perceived as benefitting one Party or the other, they do not benefit the people; they exploit them.

We've had enough.

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