Killing the train: How dumb is that?
Bill Lueders and Prof. Charles Franklin are wrong to call the electorate stupid (Opinion, 11/19/10). The electorate is working multiple jobs, staving off foreclosure, and paying outrageous sums to stay marginally healthy (and those are the "lucky" ones with jobs and health insurance). Voters are making superhuman efforts just to keep their lives together. They do not have the time or energy to take on a new project.
And these days, staying reasonably informed is indeed a project; most local media are obsessed with violent crimes and cute little animals, while national news outlets run a nonstop parade of Republican talking points. Not every city has a paper like Isthmus.
My mom, who is over 60 and works 12-hour days in constant terror of being laid off, is supposed to come home and look up online articles about high-speed rail?
Yes, it's easy to get discouraged by the recent elections, but we're not doing our side any favors by insulting people who are our natural allies. It's true, defunding education boosts Republican vote tallies down the road. But not because it leaves people stupid. Because it leaves people struggling.
I strongly agree with Bill Lueders regarding Scott Walker's refusal of passenger rail funds. His pandering to the derail-the-train crowd has now led to Spanish train manufacturer Talgo probably leaving Milwaukee. Worse, the governor of Illinois says his state will gladly accept the $810 million Walker is refusing. Wisconsinites are being seen as a laughingstock.
On the bright side, however, at least we are in close enough proximity to the Land of Lincoln that some of us - who believe in progress - will be able to ride the new lines to be built there.