A different sort of name

How about the next time we name a bridge we try a different sort of name.

As you know we love to name bridges after politicians. We name highways after them. Along with parks and buildings and airports.

Every time you turn around you run into the Senator Joe Bloggs Interstate. Or plaza. Or the Mayor Smith Parking Garage. Or the Alderman Jones Cafeteria and Recycling Center.

You cannot make your way through West Virginia without coming across  dozens of things named after Senator Byrd, now deceased. Before he died he was working on changing the name of his state to his.

I object. Please don’t call me petty. Please don’t think me ungrateful for the work politicians do for us. And don’t say that if that office building was named for a politician I voted for I might be in favor.

I object to naming all this stuff for politicians for a simple reason. It is the same reason a famous owner of a pro football team objected to a request from his best linebacker. The two had settled on the linebacker’s $2 million salary. Then the linebacker asked for a $10,000 bonus every time he sacked the quarterback.

“What?” the owner shouted. “You want a bonus for sacking quarterbacks? What the hell do you think I pay you the $2 million for? Your job is to sack quarterbacks.”

In a nutshell, that is why I object to naming the airport after Senator Bloggs. Call me dumb, but isn’t Senator Bloggs’ job supposed to be to secure the funding for the airport? Isn’t that what we pay him to do? When he does his job we should thank him, yes. By re-electing him.

Now you might argue that Senator Bloggs deserves to have the water fountains across the state named after him. Because he brought home so much bacon for us when he served at the pig trough we call Washington. I am not so sure.

Think about it. Every project he got funded he got funded with your money. He voted for the taxes you hate to pay. He got some of your money routed back to your state or district. So, this deserves a bonus?

Yes, the politicians work hard. Yes, it is often on your behalf they work so hard. But let us face reality. They do not create jobs. Despite what they crow. And they screw up a lot. And most of them leave office a lot richer than when they arrived. And all those things they achieved for you they achieved with your money.

Besides, lots of other people work hard on your behalf with your tax dollars. Maybe we should name stuff after some of them. How about the Snowplow Drivers Memorial Bridge?  Mybe the Street Cleaners National Airport? I like the sound of The You and Me Public Office Building. Or the Taxpayers Municipal Ice Rink.

If politicians insist we name things after them they ought to be prepared for both sides of reality. They should allow us to name failures after them. Such as the Barney Frank-Chris Dodd Housing Debacle and Near Collapse of Our Banking System.

That has a nice ring to it. Because without the work of these two politicians the whole mess might never have happened.

From Tom ... as in Morgan.                  

For more columns and for Tom’s radio shows (and to write to Tom): tomasinmorgan.com.

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