worshiping hungry gods--by ourselves

More on the American car vs. public transit thing.

The rest of the world is becoming more and more aware of our special cult and addiction, and they clearly aren't going to be indifferent to its planetary impact going forward.

... Beaufort county [South Carolin] planners have been meeting to discuss a regional transportation system.

The [county's daily] paper explains what this is - it would link the county to outlying areas including the nearby city of Savannah, Georgia and the holiday resort of Hilton Head.

People wouldn't have to use their cars. But outraged residents want to use their cars - and they fear the kind of people who use public transport just would not fit in these parts.

"We're not that kind of community", one of them is quoted as saying - and that is the rub.

America is not that kind of community. It is a car-driving society - not in an easy going, take-it-or-leave-it "oh we'll try something else" sense, but in a profound, almost religious way.

The right to drive is a deeply valued blessing - and one that will not be given up lightly, in fact will not be given up at all.

The BBC correspondent realizes that we worship our own gods here.
In the hotel in Mobile I saw on American television a mention of the development summit and a discussion about the plight of the Maldives - that gorgeous island archipelago which we are told is threatened with inundation as sea levels rise.

When I say a discussion - well it wasn't quite that - by the time they had worked out where they were and marvelled at how small they were there was no time to talk about saving the islands.

Do Americans know that the rest of the world is ganging up on them again and accusing them of polluting the planet? - yes vaguely.

Do they care? Not much.


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Published on August 31, 2002 4:48 PM.

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