If you want to set yourself up for profound disappointment, count on the government to do something for you.
We all know this intuitively. When we head out to the DMV, we expect to have a bad experience.
And yet millions of Americans place their faith in government institutions every day, expecting the state to protect and care for them. In fact, government dependence has transformed vast swaths of the U.S. population into whining, helpless wards of the state.
A major snowstorm that pummeled Kentucky this week provides yet another example. Plunging temperatures transformed flooding rains into a major snowstorm. Roads quickly became slick and hazardous, even impassible in some areas. The heavy accumulating snow rapidly overwhelmed transportation cabinet crews trying to clear the highways.
Anybody with an ounce of sense should have anticipated this. Weather forecasters warned about the potential for heavy snowfall for days. And anybody who has ever ventured south of the Ohio River in the winter knows that we don’t do snow very well. Three or four inches can shut down a Kentucky town. This particular storm dumped upwards of 20 inches in some areas.
Unfortunately for many travelers, the snow and ice rendered I-65 impassable. State police said at one point more than 200 trucks were stuck on one hilly stretch. Thousands of motorists found themselves stranded for hours.
Several members of Jesse Jackson’s Rainbow PUSH Coalition found themselves stuck in the massive traffic jam. The group, which included Jackson’s wife, was heading to Selma, Ala. to participate in events surrounding the 50th anniversary of the famous civil rights march.
Janette Wilson was with the group, and she was not pleased. She vented her frustration to a reporter at a Louisville TV station, calling the situation, “unconscionable.”
There are several vehicles that are stranded on I-65 and have been stranded – many of them – since 9 p.m. yesterday, and we just are moving slightly, only slightly today,” Wilson said. “We’ve had no communication from any official representatives of the state or local government officials. We were just sitting here with no mention, until later this morning, that we were even stranded. No emergency vehicles. We didn’t see any snow plows until almost 11 a.m. today.
It just says, as a nation, we are not prepared for these natural disasters. We don’t have a plan of action to respond effectively. I mean, people were in cars and running out of gas with no resources made available to them. No emergency vehicles in sight, and no communication from the official representatives of the state or the county or the city.
Some of us have run out of food and clothes. McDonald’s closed. People were running out of gas, and there’s no resources sent to the motorists to assist them. Many people have children. We don’t know what elderly on this highway. There has been no real assessment of the needs of the people. We did not see an ambulance until an hour ago.
Color me shocked.
The sad part of this whole saga lies in the fact that it apparently never occurred to Wilson that she might ought to make some preparations for a long trip south when the weather forecast calls for a massive snowstorm. You know – maybe pack a little extra food. Throw some blankets in the back. Anticipate problems.
But no, this is America! The government should come to our rescue…immediately.
The thing is, it never does. Over and over again we find government agencies failing in the midst of crisis. And yet, people like Wilson still act shocked.
I’ve got news for Janette – this is what you get. It’s government. It’s going to let you down. It won’t take care of you.
Oh – we’ll see plenty of hand-wringing, 20-20 hindsight and maybe even a few mea culpas in the next couple of months. The state will create a contingency plan and promise such a thing will never happen again.
And it won’t.
Until the next thing happens.
I understand Janette’s frustration. We’ve all been there. Things happen beyond our control, and we get hosed. But you know what? At some point we have to take responsibility for ourselves. We have to accept the fact that the knight in shining armor riding in on a white horse doesn’t exist. We have to prepare and maybe even accept responsibility for our own failure to do so.
But people would rather find a savior. So they place their faith in Pres. Barak Obama, or Gov. Steve Beshear, or Sen. Mitch McConnell, or Rep. John Boehner. Maybe Hillary Clinton will save the day. Or Jeb Bush. How about Rick Santorum or Jimmy Carter? Your city council member? The mayor?
Think about that for a second.
You expect salvation from these people?
No wonder you find yourselves perpetually disappointed.