In the aftermath of tragedy, the second thing to do, after dealing with the initial shock and horror, is to assign blame. This is not necessarily a bad thing, if the exercise leads to improvement in the way things are done. Many of us were quick to point out his or her belief that "Conservative" government is designed to fail, and that enormous budget deficits caused by perpetual war are designed to "starve the beast", so that eventually the Cons can shrink government to the point where they can, in the infamously despicable words of Grover Norquist, "...drown [Government] in a bathtub." We also pointed out the obvious: There were warnings, yet the warnings went unheeded. For those of you who don't know much about Minnesota politics, let me just tell you that it has been weird the last few years, much more than the good old days of having to fend off the whole "Governor Goofy" thing. However, fate, karma, or whatever has a way of popping up when you least expect it. Yes, on the day the bridge collapsed, a press release was issued BRAGGING about how stopping funding for road and bridge repair was a good thing for Minnesota. More on the other side of the failed bridge...
Let me say, for the record, that I loathe the Taxpayer's League of Minnesota, and all that they stand for. They have distorted what it used to mean to be a Minnesotan. We used to believe in the common good, in investment in roads, bridges, education, healthcare and community. But thanks to The Taxpayer's League, and the handful of uber-wealthy families that fund their evil, we have been saddled with a governor that is completely in their pocket. Here is a snippet from their press release of August 1, 2007, sent out mere hours before the collapse of the the I-35W bridge over the Mississippi River in Minneapolis:
Two weeks later Pawlenty announced another important veto, this one to block a transportation bill containing more than $5 billion in tax and fee increases, including adding 7-1/2 cents to the per-gallon gasoline tax, a "wheelage" tax (a tax on vehicles), sales tax increases for transit spending, an excise tax on new car purchases, and increased tab and license fees with a total cost to the average Minnesota family of up to $500 a year.
$500 dollars per year. That is what condemned a confirmed 4 and a possible 12 people to die, and countless others to be injured, both physically and financially. Five Hundred Dollars! Let me say that again: FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS!!! How many of you would gladly pay $500 dollars, even $500 dollars you didn't have to save your neighbor's life, or for that matter, the life of a total stranger?
Read the rest of the release, and try not to loose the rest of your breakfast: