The slow failure of our infrastructure is a crisis that everyone knows about, but no one wants to talk about. We all see the problems and know they’re getting worse, but addressing them head-on is politically tricky. For most people, it’s simply easier to stay silent. Well, I’m not most people. I’m a farmer with one wolf, one goat, and one head of cabbage, and American infrastructure has failed me.
Every day when I go to the market, I have to cross a river using only a rowboat. That’s already an outdated system, but it gets worse. Thanks to a chronic lack of upkeep enabled by a culture of inertia in Washington, the rowboat can hold only me and one of my three items. This creates serious problems, which our political system is ill-equipped to handle.
Politicians just aren’t familiar with the constant struggles and challenges Americans like me face. When I attempted to speak to my senator at a Town Hall, he suggested that I simply take the goat across, row back, take the cabbage across, row back, and finally take the wolf across. When I tried to explain why that wasn’t possible, he moved to the next question.
What these career politicians don’t seem to understand is that while I’m rowing back to get my wolf, I have to leave my goat and my cabbage unsupervised on the shore. If I do that, the goat will eat the cabbage. If that happens, I lose money. My wolf, goat, and cabbage farm runs on razor-thin margins already. Losing just one of my three daily products could put me out of business.
This is an issue where the two-party system fails us. I could vote for a Democratic challenger over my Republican senator, but the most realistic plan the Democrats have put forward is that I should take the goat across first, row back, take the wolf across instead of the cabbage, row back, and finally cross with the cabbage. And while that does deal with the problem of my goat eating my cabbage, it’s not a workable solution.
If you’re a liberal, you need to understand that rowing back to get the cabbage while leaving the goat and the wolf on the shore isn’t an option for farmers like me. This might not be politically correct to say in some circles, but quite frankly, my wolf will eat my goat. And while a goat may not fetch the same price as a single cabbage, it’s not a sacrifice I can make.
This is a problem for me, but it’s also a problem for America. The fact is, Americans want to be able to go to the local farmer’s market and purchase either one goat, one cabbage, or one wolf. If my business fails because of inadequate government investment in rowboat maintenance, my three daily customers will be very unhappy.
I’m not the only one who’s facing this problem either. Farmers who bring one fox, one chicken, and one bag of seed face extremely similar issues, as do those with a lion, a sheep, and three carrots. It would be easy for me to reject the struggles of these other farmers, but instead, I choose to stand in solidarity. All of us are struggling because of the same systemic failures, and together, we will have the best chance of fixing them.
Of course, better rowboat size isn’t the only thing we must invest in. There are many other equally serious problems. According to one study, approximately 50 percent of labyrinth guards exclusively tell lies. Many torches only last for twelve minutes. Several times, I’ve only been able to make it to the market by looking in a mirror to see what I see, and saw what I saw, taking the saw, cutting a table in half, and putting the two halves together to make a hole. Why have we allowed things in our country to get this bad?
If you ask me, that’s the real puzzle.