The path of Life flows along a narrow road built for limited traffic, at limited speed, and with a limited amount of traffic. Our road is constructed with deep ditches on both sides and with a series of sharp cutbacks with a sheer drop on the side. It is unforgiving, unyielding, and deadly without mindfulness of the driver. But our awareness is short. The noise is ever present. The distractions seem infinite.
We feel some privileged class can pass us at reckless speed even if it forces us into the ditch. They have powerful vehicles. We drive our old wrecks. They laugh at us. We feel ashamed.
We hunger for someone to pull us free from the ditch. Our emotions are screaming for vengeance for that bastard who forced us off our road. We want the rich guy to go off that cliff and we want to smile watching the slow-motion car-camera showing his/her face in terror.
Politicians appeal to the emotional, frightened driver in all of us. We want our roads back.
The political class machine creates a series of promises based on our emotional needs. New, better, tremendous roads, the best road in the world, elevated, covered against the weather, protected against outsiders, roads with no ditches, no sharp curves, road you can speed on. They lie about the conditions of the road. They lie about their ability and our ability to navigate the road. They promise new, better and safer roads that only they can build. We learn to love the lie and it becomes a higher truth.
The fact we are heading quickly to self-driving cars is an indication that it isn’t the roads that are the major problem. It’s the human driver behind the wheel that kills 1.4million people each year in the world. This number of dead in traffic accidents is sufficient to swing a close election.
That mythical political road, of course, never gets built. But that doesn’t stop us for searching for the new road builder messiah. We are suckers for fast-talking expressway promoters. Some call it our resilience. Others call it our insane faith that one person or group of persons has figured out how to solve the road problem. That belief is based squarely on someone who millions have faith has discovered the answer everyone else has overlooked. And, that the answer is simple; if only the ‘others’ would get out of the way and let that simple solution take hold.
The hallmark of an authoritarian regime is strictly control the news of road conditions. They bury the problem and deceptions and those who expose them. We are stuck with this impasse for the near future. Once the self-driving model of driving is adapted and expanded to political road mapping, construction, repair and expansion, our great-grandchildren may wonder why we spent so much of our political lives in the ditch and so little time on the road.
If you’ve lived in a deeply divided country with authoritarian tendencies, you have an idea of how this road construction business will turn out for the Americans.
Christopher G. Moore new book of A Vincent Calvino crime novel is titled Jumpers.