EagleTribune.com, North Andover, MA

Opinion

April 5, 2014

Column: Our leaders have failed us, with deadly results

I have just had an unpleasant encounter with the Department of Motor Vehicles (is there any other kind?). But I am arguing for government. BETTER GOVERNMENT!

I know, I know. I am shouting. But this is something I have been thinking about for a long time.

The problem in this country is not big government, as so many Americans believe. It is bad, inefficient, occasionally corrupt and often incompetent government.

I give you three exhibits.

One is the sad and incomprehensible example of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration seemingly ignoring the ignition problems of certain General Motors cars. At least 13 Americans lost their lives because of the ignition switch problem.

The second exhibit is the horrific example of the landslide in the state of Washington. People bought into a catastrophe without being told of the danger. Commercial clearcutting operations were permitted above home sites that could have weakened the land mass.

The third example is the new U.N. report that concludes that every person on Earth is going to be affected, mostly adversely, by climate change that is now an undeniable fact of life. More extreme weather. Food shortages. Floods. Droughts. Loss of life and loss of species.

Despite clear scientific evidence, naysayers of climate change, many in Congress and some in government, have ridiculed for years and are still pooh-poohing the dangers of manmade greenhouse gases. They have politicized the issue so much that millions have been ignorant of the facts. Actions that should have been taken years ago have been forestalled and are still being blocked. Folks, we’re living in one of those scary sci-fi movies and don’t even realize it.

News reporters are often hated as bearers of mostly bad news, which is true. I started reporting on the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration when the iconoclastic Ralph Nader was just beginning his quest to make cars safer. I was one of many reporters writing reams of copy about the unsafe condition of too many cars. And government responded with seat belts, air bags, better bumpers, side vehicle protection, child safety seats, and countless other safety devices. Thousands of lives were saved.

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