Now hear this, all ye elected officials: the Constitution says your first duty is to protect public safety. So, Mr. Mayor, don’t cut the already-reduced crime and fire-fighting forces. Any loss of public safety and enforcement of laws that protect life, limb and property cost very big bucks—in health care alone, not to mention affordable livable homes, which scarcely exist anymore. Work for the sharing that made the Great Depression great and safe.
I was one of those children “taken in” by kindred after my mother’s death from pneumonia and my father’s rail freight business failure. Not having parents on deck was surely a loss, but then people of all ages were just grateful to have adequate food, shelter and a safe and neighborly community. Tom Brokaw called those Americans “The Greatest Generation,” but it was this kind of sharing and gratitude for the essentials that made for “greatness”—not to mention being a G-rated and generally law-abiding culture. Speaking of changes we need!
Unlike New York’s mayor, leaders then knew immoderate drinking triggered all manner of risk-taking, impulsive, anti-social and criminal deeds. Now this well-proven link is downplayed and even denied. Agreed, smoking and obesity, the major mayoral and cultural “no-nos” today, are great cripplers and killers, but they do not shut down the brain’s judgment center.
There are lessons to learn, but who’s to teach them when the generation who most remembers is fast departing this life and whose views are rarely sought? Incidentally, my grievance with local officials only using Transportation Alternatives (primarily a bicycling group) in their pedestrian safety programs is that my related endeavors not only long predate the group’s pedestrian concerns but were honored in 2006 by federal (Congressional Book of Records yet), state and city elected officials. They said I was “the Big Apple’s leading champion for pedestrian safety, who focused government’s attention on a host of urban ills, most notably to curb traffic lawlessness.” My efforts to crack down on bicycling moving violations may be more of a drawback than my age.
Elders aren’t seen or heard from much on a public level, not on campaign trails of those who claim to know the changes we need or at the victory and concession events. But the vice-president elect thankfully escorted his 91-year-old mother to her polling place, where long lines in general proved too much for some elders. And Michelle Obama’s mother is reportedly moving in to the White House with the rest of the First Family.
It should not be “so all about couples and offspring”—for every generation’s physical and mental well-being. If you remember just one thing from this column…
Nor should fun and games prevent the crossing of avenues, or stop bus service without signs to alert riders like me who waited 25 minutes for the M79 until a passerby said, “The marathon stopped bus service.” And without the $20-plus in my wallet for a circuitous cab ride to and from church, it was too late to make the All Souls’ Day Service with this year’s especially poignant personal meaning. So I went home to find Meet the Press pre-empted by marathon coverage.
Public transit riders, like prudent pedestrians, all do the earth-saving, the life-and-limb-saving and the non-congesting thing, and yet the bus rider and the walker’s needs are so little considered.
Concerning all the above—how long, dear Lord, how long—until we get mad and just won’t take it anymore!
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