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05 October 2012

Hollywood politics

I’ve been avoiding the political melee, but an article titled "Forks in the Road revisited" in Structural Engineer prompts me to ask this question: Who do you believe - and why? This issue is only tangentially related to this election; it pervades our lives.Even though the following quotation specifically mentions the President, it’s a comment on who we allow to influence us, and applies to all political parties.
"President Obama has gone on record telling the Hollywood crowd that they, with their great influence, vote and money will sway the outcome of November's vote. Is that where we stand now, with celebrities and entertainers expert in the world of make-believe setting the direction of our country? Wouldn't it be better to have serious, down-to-earth groups that include engineers set our country's compass with practical solutions? I, for one, would feel better about that!" Richard G. Weingardt, P.E
Why do celebrities have so much influence? I recall a sales pitch I heard many years ago, and asking myself, “Why is this presentation being made by a retired quarterback?” Do clothes fit better because a TV star sells them? Is a restaurant better because a movie star promotes it?

Three years ago, in "Sensible Stimulus", I expressed my disappointment in the lack of investment in infrastructure. Despite the poor condition of our water supply systems, dams, sewage systems, and other essential utilities, many of which already have exceeded their design lifespans and are near collapse, government officials and agencies continue to ignore them. Why is it the maintenance budget is so quickly cut?

Regardless who wins the election, we should demand more attention be paid to the services essential to our nation. The luxuries we enjoy and accept as necessities cannot exist if the power goes out.

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