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OpEdNews Op Eds    H2'ed 2/14/09

The passage of the Stimulus Bill: Words like infrastructure truly excite me

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Message Mary MacElveen
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Like Rachel Maddow, I too am a huge fan of infrastructure.  Even the word excites me.  I know strange for a woman. Right?  I love seeing things built which translate into jobs.  I think that is the reason why I have for as far as I can remember love the smell of tar used to fix pot holes, because those who are doing this work are improving our lives and performing a hard days work. Forget the perfume, let me smell some tar.


This work also translates into a paycheck so that he/she can then take home in order to feed themselves and/or their family.  There is great pride in knowing that one is able to provide for those you love especially in these hard economic times.  Honey and kids, I am home has all the feelings of a festive holiday celebration.  Those who do, walk on cloud even if their clothes have the grime that come from a hard-days work.


One of my favorite shows on the History Channel is “Modern Marvels” because they will air programs of how bridges we travel across and the sky-scrapers that dot our horizon are built.  It is the true hustle and bustle of activity and the great American ability to provide for we as a society as a whole.  Dare I say the ‘S’ word where public tax dollars are used to benefit we as a society as a whole?  You know you want to say it.  They who build these marvels also take home with them a check and how great is that?


While I do have a fear of heights, it is truly a marvel to see those build these modern marvels or work on them to help maintain them.  How often do you see a lone worker walk the span of a bridge either to change a light bulb or painting them while tethered to it?  As you do look up, they brave the heights to insure your safety.  Next time you see them and even if they cannot hear you, please say thank you.


Also included in infrastructure is the building of new buses and trains to take the masses where they need to go.  Those who ride them take the building of them for granted, but those who use them get to know their neighbors and it is akin to a community on wheels.  Even for those who do not ride them often, it is a chance to meet a new person and to start a conversation or to have a moments peace where one can close their eyes.


There is nothing like sitting at the window seat of a train watching the world pass you by and the speed that goes with it.  Often you can see the train you are on, pass the autos on the street by in the speed of light.  Well not really that fast, but you get the picture.  No red lights or road-rage for those sitting comfortably in their seats.  Some may be working on a lap-top or YES reading a newspaper.


To those who build these community on wheels, I do thank you since I am a huge fan of buses and trains.  Along in building them comes with it the dignity of work and the ability to bring home a paycheck.  I think besides the word infrastructure the new and exciting word is paycheck.  Yes, we live in an age where one’s pay can be directly deposited, but there is nothing like holding that piece of paper to prove a person’s pride that they have a job.


How many of us on our television news have seen steam pipes explode or water pipes flood our streets coming from beneath the streets of a bustling city?  When we do see that, our reaction is, “Uh oh…not good” Well there are literally countless ones in need of repair and hopefully some of that stimulus money can go into the repair of them.  Those who race to the scene are our first responders who assess the situation to see that no innocent bystanders have been hurt or worse, dead.


After they have secured the scene another group of hard-hat workers come into assess the damage done.  They delve deep beneath our streets and develop plans on how to fix this lone problem and in the back of their minds, they do know that others are about to blow and break.  It is the ticking-clock of disrepair and decay.  They do not get much praise in our society, but we owe them all our debt of gratitude.  All of these people are the life’s blood of our communities from coast-to-coast.  When they are gone, we can visibly see their absence as cities die off and turn into modern-day ‘ghost towns’.


Many of us have lived through blackouts such as the one that hit the northeast in 2003 and while it disrupted our lives, we were ever thankful to those workers who sprung into action to repair them.  During those times, electric companies dispatch their vehicles to fix what is broken and are seen as electrical first responders.  Well, our electrical grid is in need of major repair.  Hopefully some of that stimulus money can start working on this pervasive problem.


A week ago, in Kentucky a major ice storm hit and left many citizens literally feeling powerless and while President Barack Obama declared a national emergency thereby releasing federal dollars, I was simply amazed to hear how the Amish came to the rescue.


In the can-do-spirit which is truly American, read this, “But Kentucky's Amish have been living that way all their lives. And when the disaster struck, they generously lent a hand to their non-Amish neighbors and showed them how it's done.” In these bleak economic times, I engage and invite you to read that wonderful story.  It is simply neighbor helping neighbor.


Another word that has formed in our collective conscience and equally excites us is, shovel-ready.  When there are no funds the equipment and workers are in a stand-down-mode just chomping on the bit to spring into action.  They wait patiently or impatiently for the funds to come in so that they can get to work on behalf of you and me.  In the past, some have been annoyed at the sound of a jack-hammer, but in this day and age, it translates into jobs and paychecks.  As some have been laid off without these precious paychecks, once given the funds to get to work, that sound then becomes not only music to their ears, but ours.

Some women can look to a man wearing a Giorgio Armani suit on Wall Street and say, does he ever look sharp, but to me, let me see a man wearing jeans and a hard-hat.  The cologne they wear is the cologne of a hard-days work.

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I am a writer who currently writes pieces for my own blog I have been published by, and I was a guest on the Jay Diamond Radio Show on WRKO in Boston and have (more...)
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