We in Chicago have survived a threatened public transit doomsday, at least until the bill comes due again in November. By dipping into next year's budget for a short-term funding fix, the politicians in Springfield averted the prospect of a 50% fare hike and service cuts (see Crisis averted: RTA accepts state's aid from the Chicago Sun Times). Now they go back to the bargaining table to try to find more permanent solutions.
You wouldn't think that it would be such a struggle to cobble together backing for public transit at a time of soaring gas prices and increasing scientific evidence of fossil fuel's contribution to climate change. Unfortunately, here in Illinois as elsewhere around the country, politics is more about electability and serving the short-sighted self interest of narrow constituencies.
Why should a downstate rep support a bill that keeps the trains and buses running in the faraway big city of Chicago? Well, if you pulled your eyes away from the latest bit of celebrity gossip looping on your TV, you might see the black clouds of exhaust drifting southward. We may not live close by, but we share the same atmosphere.
It's becoming increasingly patently obvious that we're going to have to make this journey to sustainable living without the help of the misleaders in our state and nation's capitals. They have their own marching orders, and to follow them is to take up the off-the-cliff path of the pied piper's rats. Our best hope is with each other, and any political solutions will have to come from us joining together to demand what we need to build a livable future.
I have to admit my own selfish motives for this political rant, as I needed an excuse to post the lyrics to a new favorite song by the UK's Badly Drawn Boy. There's even a nifty music video for it on YouTube.
Journey from A to B
by Badly Drawn Boy
I measured the distance from heaven to hell
How we will do, only time will tell
Oh, when will you stop worrying!
What anyone says doesn't mean a thing
Just tell me you're feeling it
And you're not disbelieving it
I'll pay you in kind or in silver and gold
I want to ignore all the stories I'm told
Make me an offer I cannot refuse
You know if I win then that means you lose
Just say you're believing it
That you're not not feeling it
Dwelling on the memories
Is such a waste of energy
It's simple when you see it, in front of you
on walls in bedrooms
Hold your head up higher
Don't tell me you're not strong enough
Is your journey over
I hope you feel that I'm the one
Only time will tell
Just say you'll be loving me
for an eternity
Oh, I feel tired of all these games
Everywhere, everything is the same
Tell me you promise you might come with me
The start of a journey from A to B
I'll be happy to carry you
Even though I know
I haven't got the strength to hold you
I need you more than ever before
If our journey's over
I hope that you will find someone
Who will love you more
Now not for the first time
What I want might not be mine
If you say you won't come along
Then I know I can go it alone