It’s really luck to predict the future. It’s often ignorance to be unable to recall the past. One can be a pessimist or an optimist, but finding that balance can be like chasing and catching a bunch of chickens. Memories can be convenient or inconvenient. Criticism can be levied by those with zero knowledge of the topic. Praise without knowledge can be shallower than a dried up creek bed. Descriptions can be made as if looking through a clear window at the object, but that same imagery changes when looked upon through rose colored glasses.
It’s easy for most people to be for or against something. It’s difficult for many people to calmly explain why they are for or against something. It seems impossible for some people to propose solutions or alternative routes to those in place or suggested by another.
If you have taken the time to read anything of mine on the Affordable Care Act, my broad description has been that the law contains both positives and negatives. I do believe that something needed to happen to adjust health care to a point where it benefits as many people as possible. Forget the stereotypes displayed in the media, too many individuals just like you or me through no fault of their own have lost their economic independence because of some health condition even if they had health coverage and took all potential actions to protect themselves against such a financial burden.
Opposition seems stuck on the imagery, so let’s just agree that perhaps “Obamacare” was always going to be a train wreck. If that is true, however, the earlier Republican plans which contain many of the same aspects which are controversial today would have been train wrecks as well. I do know that a train wreck becomes more likely when a group of people want to take as many spikes and crossties as possible from the track. If that locomotive and all the cars are designed to run on track set at English Standard Gauge of 4 ft 8.5 inches, everything will derail if that track width is altered somewhere along the line. Without the intentional alterations and taking of personal souvenirs, perhaps a train wreck would not occur. We do not know as that is the future and not the past.
We should know that a return to the status quo is a reflection of the past through rose colored glasses. That is the past. If one’s windows are too smudged, this feature from the January 2008 Consumer Reports should alleviate some of the smudging or discoloration for a clearer view.
Of course looking back at that article from 5+ years in the future might turn it into a partisan document from a modern context. My feelings though are that this “train wreck” as described by many today has already been taking place if one chooses to only see that sight. Whether it involved the old American Standard 4-4-0 or a magnetic levitation high speed locomotive, a train wreck is a train wreck and damage occurs.
Without the railroad, the US would be far different today. If you ever wondered how the US got the time zones we have today, it was because of the railroad. Much of modern styled management resulted from adjustments made by railroad companies. Even if we no longer think about it or if that track in your community no longer plays a significant role, the railroad brought advancements for the United States that are hard to quantify. On the other hand, all of those advancements also resulted in many negatives. One example is obviously the fate of many Native American Indians, especially those in the Plains who saw their way of life exterminated with the influx of “progress” and the careless slaughter of the buffalo.
With many things you have both good and bad accounts. The reality is that the truth will be some combination of that good and bad. Once again it is about perspective, and it is why we should always make the effort to see things from not just our own perspective but from that of others as well.
There are many fantastic sources on railroad history. I’m linking this article from the Journal of Economic History because of my earlier reference to track gauges and also because, for the moment at least, Florida State University has a direct link available which does not require one to have JSTOR access to read the entire article.