That my father helped to drive cattle though Chambersburg in 1904 still intrigues me. Henry Ford produced the first Model T Ford in 1908 only four years later, and he was said to have transformed transportation in America.
Amtrak explained before we began the trip that it could not keep on schedule. Freight trains compete with passenger trains and passenger trains always lose out because Amtrak does not own the rails between Harrisburg and Chicago. Ownership rules in our country.
I don’t know who owns the rails. Certainly the porters, conductors, engineers, dining cars servers, and the passengers do not own them. I don’t know who owns the tankers or who owns the combustibles in them or who owns the coal on the freight cars.
Some one is making money from all this traffic. Profits from industrialization flow up to the owners, and very little money trickles down to the middle and lower classes of society.
When I decided to renew my interest in the Rachel Maddow show on MSNBC, she opened her show with pictures of freight train derailments in Canada and Louisiana. (The links are graphic!) The owners of flat, box, and container cars are not accountable for all accidents. Since our trip I better understand the need to keep tracks repaired. I am more patient now when I am delayed by repairs.
I admit that I am a beneficiary of industrialization. But now as an octogenarian I am increasingly disturbed by the pollution that is slowly destroying the earth. Years ago I was impressed by the concept that the Creator will come in great power and will “destroy them that destroy the earth.” Will the moguls of industrialization who do not care for the earth and its peoples be responsible for homicide, genocide, and for rubbing out life on the earth?
My father was a friend of J. I Rodale, regarded as the father of organic gardening. The two men sometimes shared a speaker’s platform. If my father was asked why he gardened organicly he would say, “I am a Christian and I don’t want to poison God’s earth.” He would be delighted by the growth of organic farming in this day and age. My brother and I once walked the run along which we both played. As adults we were amazed at the abundant life in its clean waters – minnows, crayfish, water striders, and apple-smellers, and other small creatures that fit in the run’s environment. We gave credit to the pesticide-free watershed provided for years by the farmers who followed our father’s example.