Archive for September 26th, 2011
Mark Trahant is a writer, speaker and Twitter poet. He is a member of the Shoshone-Bannock Tribes and lives in Fort Hall, Idaho. Trahant’s recent book, “The Last Great Battle of the Indian Wars,” is the story of Sen. Henry Jackson and Forrest Gerard.
I drove across the Northwest this past weekend. A 1,700-mile trip from Idaho to Seattle, returning via rural roads in Washington, and freeways in Idaho and Montana. Along the route I looked at places and wondered, how will life change during the Era of Contraction?
The Era of Contraction takes form in a big way this week. Congress will either enact a Continuing Resolution – a back of the envelope budget for the fiscal year that starts Saturday – or the government will shut down. At the same time Congress’ Super Committee will come up with its own plans to cut even deeper, trillions.
The most visible sign of a federal West (the one that’s frustrating when you’re trying to get somewhere) is that orange barrel on the Interstate highway. It seemed like every hundred miles or so (probably twice that in Montana) a new crop of orange popped up, speed limits went down, and crews were busy improving a road or a bridge.
But this may have been the last summer what such extensive road and bridge repair. (Unless President Obama’s jobs’ bill passes Congress, but I don’t see the votes for that.) It turns out that driving and road building is a good example of contraction.