SHARE THE ROAD (and the cost)

As I write this, we’re closing in on the Dalles Dam, about 3,000 miles from Charlotte and traveling at the speed of freedom. (We hope to do our first interview tomorrow, so stay tuned.) About sixty miles east of Portland and we’ve hit one of those ‘socialist’ roads that the government pays to pave. The highway construction workers have somehow become the enemies of the Republicans who want to put them out of work.

Tea Party ideas are definitely out there, but I live here on Earth, and in the United States. It’s a country where folks have historically built it up together, the way we accomplished this with Ike Eisenhower is a good one: everybody chips in to maintain roads so that all of us can have a little bit less rocky ride.

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Other Public Works projects whip by us from the movie-screen window, like the Bonneville Dam, reminders tougher times, times where the the government pushed up its sleeves, asked the elite to pay its fair share, and put millions of Americans to task and back to work building great things, big things, things for the U.S.

Driving a car with no shocks to speak of, I appreciate these “Obama-Roads.” When we do the adult thing, when we spend the money to fix or improve the things we have, it makes for a much less bumpy ride…for all of us.

The Wright Brothers invented their flying machine while encouraged by the prospect of government prize money and the promise of subsidies for anyone who could do it. Bill Gates couldn’t have capitalized on the internet without hundreds of thousands of miles of telephone lines that we, the public, built. Our government has been a great innovator and historically been a supporter of innovation.

Those with the most, who have never dirtied their palms with a hard day’s work, just seem to care about taking more and more of our hard-earned money, no matter the cost to our country. They want it all and more of it, hiding it in foreign bank accounts. In an effort to make infinity-and-a-half dollars, millionaires like Mitt Romney cross their arms like children, shut down shop, and send our jobs overseas. It makes sense why they do it. They make a killing sending American jobs to countries like China, where they can pay slave wages, where people do not have the freedoms and opportunities we have to organize, to vote, to demand better for ourselves and our compatriots. They don’t want to pay Americans what we’re worth. Instead, they make slaves of citizens in other countries while starving their fellow Americans.

Most Americans, like those I see with the steam-rollers and jackhammers out here on the highway, are hardworking who want work and to have the dignity of a decent wage. I do agree with Republicans that there is a problem with unemployment. There are people who take advantage of and suck off the system. We know there are people out there who simply refuse to work, who live off the rest of society—they’re called billionaires. Let’s get real: there is a very real difference between making money and earning it. The banksters and billionaires may make money—us hard-working Americans are the ones who earn it.

–Steve Coatsworth, Andrew Becker, and Celine Swenson-Harris, Signing Off

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