Friday, January 18, 2013

The People's Soviet of Portland, Oregon

Offered for your consideration, Exhibit A in the People v. Portland:
The Antiplanner noted last February that the city’s transportation bureau elected to give up on street paving and repair so that it could fund streetcars. The latest news is that the city isn’t even property maintaining its buildings, including the internationally famous (for being ugly) Portland building. The city has just over half the money it needs to keep this and other city buildings maintained.

Another recent news story revealed that Oregon has the fourth-worst high-school graduation rate in the nation. Just two out of three high school students earn a diploma in four years. Oregon’s record is brought down by Portland schools, where the graduation rate is just 59 percent, which is “well behind those of districts with similar levels of student poverty.”
But Borepatch, I hear you ask.  Why call it a 'People's Soviet'?  Well, we've seen this sort of thing before.  Exhibit B tells the tale:
When comparing their multi-national country to the United States, Russians tend to pride themselves in a lesser amount of freak accidents and unnecessary deaths, such as shootings in colleges, hostage takings in shopping malls, and armed robberies. However, the sentiment is very different these days. Just in the past month, the world has witnessed two major accidents in Russia - a plane landing half a mile short of the landing strip and killing nearly everyone on board, and a ship sinking--not in the open ocean--but in a river, killing more than half of its passengers. The incidents, overlooked by the Western media, in the last two weeks include more helicopters and planes falling out of the skies, and the debates around Russia's new ballistic missile Bulava, that flies correctly only half of the times--a disturbing success rate if armed with a nuclear warhead. What is happening to Russia?

At the core of the problem is one fact: today, nothing in Russia is Russian, and whatever can be called such, is Soviet--in most cases over 50 years old, in some cases approaching the centennial age mark. The infrastructure has been raped, the profits from its abuse have landed in $750-million oligarchs' European mansions and rescued British soccer clubs.
Infrastructure crumbles around the ordinary citizen as the Oligarchy invests in prestige projects.  The fact that the Oligarchy in Russia is more capitalist than the one in Portland means precisely squat to the crumbling infrastructure or the ordinary citizen.
And on the pedestal these words appear:
"My name is Ozymandias, king of kings:
Look on my works, ye Mighty, and despair!"
Nothing beside remains. Round the decay
Of that colossal wreck, boundless and bare
The lone and level sands stretch far away.
- Shelly, Ozymandias 

1 comment:

Wolfman said...

This is precisely the reason My Lovely Wife and I chose an outlying town, rather than Portland itself, when we moved here a couple years ago. And also the reason I go into town exceedingly rarely.