Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Fencing Us In

While driving home from a visit to New England, my wife and I encountered the classic DC traffic jam. Now we used to live in the DC area, so we were intimately familiar with the changing traffic scene in DC. When we arrived in 1969, traffic was bad. But then the transit authority began adding bus routes, and finally, in 1973, the Metro began construction, bringing to the region, one of the finest public transit systems in the Nation. Still, the traffic grew worse year by year. By the time we left in 2000, it had deteriorated to the point that it rivaled the mess in Los Angeles.

So, we kind of knew what to expect, except the DC area can still surprise you. As we traveled down the I-95 corridor from Baltimore on Sunday at midday, we expected an increase. We entered the 495 beltway around DC and headed for the I-95 exit headed south towards Richmond. We exited 495, entering what is known affectionately as the “Springfield Interchange”, a monstrous interchange of highways and byways that is one of the two or three worst traffic areas in the country. We think it has been under construction since the Civil War (but I exaggerate).

But I digress.
As we entered that nasty little traffic region, there were four or five lanes of traffic, all full of vehicles of every description, and traveling along at a top speed of 15 miles per hour, with frequent speeds of 0.5 miles per hours. So, traveling at such speeds, the mind wanders I guess. Suddenly, I had the answer to one of the Nation’s most vexing problems—illegal immigration.

Suppose, I pondered, we simply moved the Nation’s capital to, say Nogales, AZ, or maybe even to El Paso, TX. That way, we wouldn’t have to build that wall all the Texan and Arizona republicans keep yelling about. Instead, we would be building an impenetrable barrier—traffic. No Mexican drug lords could possibly slip through something as tight as the DC Springfield Interchange traffic mess. And, with the capital there, the entire border corridor would become one gigantic traffic jam, much like the current Boston to Florida mess. Think of it, one huge interstate highway stretching the entire length of Texas, Arizona, and California right at the border, full of lobbyists driving their Hummers. Who could get through that? And because of all the Congresspersons, the President and his VEEP, the Secret Service would be all over the place.

So, in addition to convincing the illegal population and the drug pusher population that coming in would be too costly, since they couldn’t penetrate the traffic jams (it would be like trying to penetrate the Hollywood Interchange at 5:00 PM on a Friday evening, only 24-7). My guess is they would all go elsewhere, maybe Canada (sorry my Canadian friends).

Oh, and my plan has yet another advantage. Remember all that whining from Arizona, Texas and Alaska, about seceding? My guess is that the Republicans from the border states would simply be too busy commuting to still keep up their incessant whining. And how could they secede anyway, if they have the Nation’s capital in their midst?

So, see, being stuck in traffic isn’t all bad. The mind keeps working, and every once in a while, a truly brilliant idea emerges (or maybe a truly stupid one . . . I have been listening to whiny republicans too long and I can’t keep straight the difference).
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