The Spectacle Blog

The Roads We’d Rather Not Travel

By on 3.31.08 | 1:06PM

Former Transportation Secretary Noman Mineta has an op-ed in the Post today, in which he tries to remind us that at one point, he was doing important things:

A few years ago, I led a U.S. delegation to Bangkok for a high-level meeting on aviation safety.

Yes, Secretary Mineta. Of course you led the delegation. And of course it was a high-level meeting. That's cool, but it was still on aviation safety. Anyway, here's the exposition:
At the end of the meeting, the Thai transportation minister brought up an issue that had not been on our agenda.

[Dramatic music: Duh duh duh] Mein Gott! The plot thickens!
"What I really need to talk with you about is road safety," he said. "This is such a huge problem for us."
If there was ever a moment where supporting Ron Paul seemed like a valid stance, it's contained in this op-ed. Sec. Mineta's area of expertise is transportation, so it makes sense to have him talking about it, but it seems a bit of a stretch to suggest that among the greatest problems facing the third world, a pernicious threat is a driver who fails to indicate.
The gap in road safety between developed countries and transitional countries is widening.

Norm has never taken a cab in Rome.

If current trends continue and we leave developing nations to turn this around by themselves, as many as 100 million lives worldwide could be lost to road injuries before this epidemic begins to reverse course.

Does this not seem a bit out of proportion? Local villagers face chaos in the streets, and rather than turn to local government, or having local government seek out the answers on their own, they turn to Norm Mineta who then takes a solemn oath that no one will ever again get cut off in a complicated intersection?

Don't we still face a problem with countries that think it's okay to force abortions, to develop nuclear weapons, or, uhm, to chop women's heads off for showing their faces?

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