Chinese Travel Apology

Washington, DC Jan 30th, 2008 -- Something that would be unheard of in the United States, a leading Chinese politician taking responsibility for system failures. The Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao apologized over a bullhorn to stranded passengers at a train station in Hunan province. He told the passengers, and the TV audience that they were doing their best to clear tracks and repair the country's paralyzed rail system and promised hundreds of stranded travelers they would be home in time for the Chinese lunar new year holidays.

The best that comes out of Washington is "Tough" and a demand for more subsidies and tax breaks for the airlines and travel operators.

The disconnect between politicians and reality is getting wider, enhanced by strategies that take the public's mind of reality. The Bush family are masters at this deception.

Yet deceptive strategies work to take the audience's eye off the problem, like a Magician performing an illusion, but they do nothing to solve the underlying problem. Total overwhelming of the travel infrastructure. In most cases this infrastructure is crumbling, and suffering the effects of lack of investment by successive Administrations. The critical infrastructure of the United States is crumbling and at breaking point in many areas, notably roads, bridges, rail lines and aviation networks. The decision to forgo reinforcing bridges and buy Stealth Bombers and even more Aircraft Carriers will come to haunt future generations.

The apology from Beijing to the people speaks volumes, and should be a wake up call for politicians around the world. Chinese leaders usually don't care what the people think, and to apologize in a culture where great emphasis is placed on an apology means things have to happen.

In the US serious failures of the critical infrastructure that enrage the public would be side stepped by TV statements on Late Term Abortion, Gay Marriage, Flag Burning, War on Terror or the other Bush tactics used to move attention away from real issues. Congress keeps quiet for that is a better short term cop out for politicians than facing the special interests and lobbyists and demanding change, or expensive improvements that cut into profits. Maximizing ROI when it comes at the expense of critical infrastructure is not a worthwhile course of action in the long run. But the Wall Street mentality only extends to the end of the present quarter, so politicians have started to adopt the same short term horizons for their thinking, and subsequent actions.

But to actually apologize for shortcomings, and lack of investment is virtually unheard of in DC. Maybe it's time to see politicians visiting Reagan, Dulles and BWI Airports and apologizing for the FAA and greedy airlines. Forget it, there would not be time to organize the carefully choreographed appearances, with military, or first responders stacked up behind the politicians to convey the right message from draft dodgers, liars and cheats. Did I say that about Bush and Cheney? Applies to Clinton too.

When are we going to fix the crumbling infrastructure? When China takes it over for defaulting on all their loans?

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