Who Profits and Who is Accountable?

1926-ford asslembly lineThis is a reminder that the Old Fool writes about what interests him at the time he writes. My Joy and I have ended our train trip, but the observations and memories still linger with us.

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.

derail-5When 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?

organicgardeningMy 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.



About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the "Old Fool" moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.
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4 Responses to Who Profits and Who is Accountable?

  1. Norman G. Shenk says:

    I like your love and respect for family which shines clearly in this reflection. I also appreciate your love and concern for the good earth as it was created. It is good to be wise stewards of all God’s creation. I love gardening without chemical fertilizers and without pesticides etc. Shalom, Norman

  2. Sad as it is, I am afraid we are losing out to the industrial giants, big, big business such as Walmart, and we may never return to the days when middle class and less privileged had a chance of moving up. Money interests now control the U.S. Just look at what the Walton family is doing to its employees….cutting health benefits for 30,000 of its part-time workers to same some money. GREED wins.

    • Many years ago Rhoda (I called her My Rose) and I were guests in a Mennonite your way home in Denver, Colorado. While there I read one of their library books about Native Americans. It related a story about a US Senator who made a visit to the Native American reservation in Oklahoma. He reported in a speech to the senate that the Native Americans were doing well. All their needs were supplied and they had no juvenile delinquency. But they lacked one essential to civilization: GREED!

  3. Sam Troyer says:

    We sure do have a lot of freight trains going through Goshen, I hope we never have a derailment. AND I enjoy your column. Shalom Sam

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