It has been snowing the last few weeks and it always makes Santa Fe look like a magical place to me, especially the graveyards scattered throughout the city. I went to two of them, the main cemetery of the city and another big one that is nestled between the School for the Death and the Odd Fellows hall. This last one is very interesting as there is the main graveyard that is enclosed in a fence and then another bit that is outside the fence (you have to drive all the way around) and is not enclosed but contains a number of headstones, include the “Lucy Jackson” one. There are branches lying around and old buckets full of stuff. Not sure if people are dumping things or someone is trying to clean it up. In either case, it is just one of many around town that are just there, part of the scenery.
Earlier this month, there was a report on NPR about how much we (Americans) have driven this year compared to last year. The result: due to increased gas prices, we have driven 30 billion miles less than last year so far. And use of public transportation is on the rise, maxing out in a lot of places. It took prices at $4 per gallon to force us to change our habits. And now, our public transportation system is at the edge of what it can handle.
It is unfortunate that we have little to no foresight. If, in the 90s, when the economy was booming and everyone was just a bit better off, we had just taxed gas a bit higher and invested all that money in public transportation development, we would be in very good shape today. Or, going back to the energy crisis of the 70s, if, after gas prices spiked and started to fall, if we had taxed gas somewhere between the high and the low, it wouldn’t have felt so hard and we would have 40 years of money to develop public transport.
But we never have any foresight. It is always about the here and now; our immediate future, not the long-term consequences of our actions; our personal self-interests rather than the interests of the “greater good”. I wonder if this is a consequence of our democratic system: politicians have to focus on 2, 4 or 6 year cycles, so they have to do things that have results on that kind of time scale. They can’t plan so easily for longer term results as that will have little impact on the next election cycle. Or maybe that is a consequence of us, the electorate. Maybe we can’t see past today, can’t see what we will need tomorrow and elect people who plan longer term. I don’t know. All I know for sure is that, with some foresight, we would be in a much better place today than we are.
Well, I just upgraded WordPress, because there were some supposedly important security fixes, but it seems that it is incompatible with the Theme I was using. And the official repository of WordPress Themes seems to be broken (most of the screen captures are just black), so for now, I’ll have to use the default. I’ll see if I can find a better looking Theme soon.