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Massachusetts Liberal

Observations on politics, the media and life in Massachusetts and beyond from the left side of the road.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Government that works -- in Chile

As the world slows down for a second to watch the rescue of the 33 trapped Chilean miners, let's stop for a second and think what might have happened if the scenario played out in today's polarized United States.

Would a government led by a right-of-center leader like Sebastian Pinera expended the resources necessary to mount the rescue or would it have pleaded budget woes in offering a half-hearted or no minimal effort?

Would mine safety advocates have raised questions only to be shouted down by industry advocates?

What would the talking heads on cable opine on the rescue's impact on Barack Obama's poll numbers or the Congress' spend-thrift ways?

Would the Tea Party say this is a good thing or that the men got themselves into trouble so they get themselves out without using public resources?

Would we have seen the mine owner take out ads on national television telling viewers all the wonderful things they will do to bring the miners home and make sure it never happens again?

The story is not quite over yet, but the lesson is clear that when government and people work together -- no shouting and no finger-pointing -- good things can happen.

As a nation, we were capable of this Chilean success story less than a decade ago. Now, I'm not so sure.

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3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Would our government insist on union only rescuers? Erect signs to say your stimulus at work?

October 13, 2010 9:25 AM  
Blogger UserGoogol said...

That's somewhat of a false analogy, although for reasons which themselves are depressing.

People do actually get stuck in collapsed mines sometimes in the US, although this Chilean mine was espcially deep. We tend to get them out. Getting people out of mineshafts really isn't that political an issue.

This is about 33 miners. When 33 people are stuck in a deadly situation, we tend to unite to get them out. The problem is that when three million people or thirty million people are stuck in a deadly situation... well then we don't care as much. Small emergencies are more personal so they appeal to even the most corrupt politician's heartstrings, even though big emergencies are vastly more important.

October 14, 2010 12:09 PM  
Blogger UserGoogol said...

Or hmm, maybe there actually hasn't been an example of miners being successfully rescued in the United States lately. Whatever, my point is mostly still true, and the main reason why that hasn't happened is because a lot of mine accidents are explosions, where they die too quickly to be saved.

October 14, 2010 4:07 PM  

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