Sunday, July 31, 2005
And Now...The Smog Issue, Finally Addressed

Yesterday, I went to look at a new car. I drive a Hyundai which has given me just about all that it can muster for a tin can. The car is in quite laughable condition. The door handle won't work, it's been kissed by too many a hailstone, and there seems to be some creature dwelling underneath the hood. I must wake this beast up every time I turn the car on, because it squeals and shakes. The air conditioner, however, works quite well.

I was looking at a Honda Civic Si, a very Euro trendy car that has a neat shifter knob in the middle of the control panel on the car. It's a small, fun car with a good crash test rating and a lot more horsepower than the Hyundai. (Most gerbils also have more horsepower). The price, however, was about forty dollars off the mark on the payment each month, and I wasn't willing to do it. Especially after I reconsidered the car-to-person ratio in Atlanta.

Atlanta is one of those pathetic examples of how urban sprawl can lead to absolute misery. The city was poorly planned to take on the growth it has encountered in the past two decades. While every suburb we drive through is being loaded with huge homes and even larger Wal-Marts, the downtown area is being avoided by most suburbanites. In fact, most people make their money during the week in Atlanta, then avoid it on the weekends. This is too bad; they are missing out on the nice things about cities: museums, theaters, and homeless people. Instead, suburbanites hole up in their huge homes with their plasma T.V.'s. Occasionally, they run to Wal-Mart.

We are all aware that the death of public transportation and the advent of the family sedan has led to the suburbs. We are also aware that in time, with fuel prices going through the roof and poor environment concern, we may not have these options anymore. Only the very wealthy will be able to afford to live outside the city because only the wealthy will be able to afford all that gas. In the meantime, most of us poor suckers in Atlanta are going to sit in the parking lots of the Interstates 85 and 75 until we start demanding something better.

Like a commuter rail system.

Here's an interesting fact: Goodyear tires began purchasing vast amount of stocks in railway when Goodyear really took off. Why? Simple: to own, and then close down, the American train system. Get the rubber, get the car, get freedom and independence.

When was the last time that Georgians really had a nice town like the one in 'Fried Green Tomatoes' (the movie)? Are any products that we purchase for daily needs coming from a nice small town where the locals all know one another and everyone still plants vegetables? Nope. That's because small towns are dying, thanks to Wal-Marts and suburbs. The car has killed the small town. The car has invented the suburb. The suburbs have led to more problems than you can shake a stick at.

Georgian conservatives don't want trains. Some take the low road and say it's primarily because white conservatives in the suburbs don't want black people in the neighborhood. I think there are a lot of reasons conservatives don't want trains, and one of the reasons is conservatives love big S.U.V.'s and love the share holders of those S.U.V.'s. Politicians cater to the upper crust of the middle class who can afford these monstrosities on the road. Politicians also like suburbs, because they can make a killing on appealing to middle class values and all the money that's in strip malls.

I didn't buy that new car, and that's okay. After all, I can stick with what I have until I get what I really want: not a nice fancy car, but a long, relaxing train ride with a cup of coffee and a good book. Hopefully, other Georgians who are tired of breathing in the smog accumulating from all those vehicles on the I-75 and -85 will look that way, too.
Written by FRITZ
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Name: Fritz

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