THE BRIDGE TO SOMEWHERE
An Election Day editorial by Flyrod
It’s the day before the American Presidential election and I feel the need to offer a bit of inspiration for a worn out electorate. Many have framed this election as a referendum on our future and the role of government and the private sector. I think the best way to settle that argument is to look at our history, and I created this photograph to make the case.
This is the Isaac Lee Paterson Bridge on U.S. Route 101 in Gold Beach Oregon where the waters of the Rogue River flow into the Pacific Ocean. The location has special meaning to me because it is where my wife was born and raised. In broader terms, I believe it is a symbol of the greatness of what our government can do, and how it can unite and strengthen us as a nation. It was built in the 1930’s when the country had plunged into the Great Depression. Prior to its construction, trucks and cars had to rely on a ferry to cross the river. It cost $600,000 to build and provide jobs during a time of high unemployment. It was a lot of money back then, but after eighty years in service it has paid dividends a hundred times over that original investment. Like so many other great building projects of that era, it’s Art Deco styling portrays a great optimism, a factor that was of real importance at a time when so many Americans were down on their luck.
The car in this photograph is a 1947 Cadillac. There is no greater symbol of free enterprise and the spirit of entrepreneurship than this beautiful automobile from General Motors. Think about this: Only two years before this car was built the world had endured the greatest war in history and the country was buried in debt. What did we do about it? We rolled up our sleeves, turned on the switch, and fired up the engine of the greatest economic boom the world had ever known. Initiative and risk taking are at the heart of a strong economy and we need more Americans to take on that role.
It seems to me that over the passed ten years or so Americans have gotten caught up in playing the blame game. Blame the government, blame the banks, blame Wall Street, blame the teachers and state employees, blame the rich, blame the poor, or just blame everybody. But here’s the deal: That beautiful car can’t go far without bridges, and bridges serve no purpose without the traffic that depends on them.
If you think government can’t do anything right you need to drive over this bridge. And if you think big business is the problem, just think about how important that car is and the impact it has on your life. That’s right, it’s a classic case of “you can’t live with ‘em, and you can’t live without ‘em. There’s no monopoly on brains or stupidity, the government and the private sector both have plenty of each to go around.
The great ideologies of America are not on the fringes of the far left or the far right. They are somewhere in the middle, and that is what we should strive for when we cast our ballot tomorrow.
Conon 5D Mark 2, 24-105mm 1:4 lens. Photoshop CS5