More Coal! More Speed!
It’s a déjà vu image I can’t get out of my head, a train hurtling through the darkness. The unconscious engineer lies slumped over the wide-open throttle, bleeding out on the floor from a number of knives stuck into his back.
In the club car, the passengers have noticed the increase in speed and are concerned, but they do nothing. Some read or look out the window. Others watch TV. A few tap away on their computers, logging onto a blogsite to spend hours complaining about what a rotten trip this is and how lousy the engineers are, but they don’t get up out of their chairs to go see what the matter could be or whether they could do anything to help the train and so help themselves. They think it’s too much bother, none of their business, whatever. Still others are frightened but do nothing because they think some Superman will swoop down from the sky and save them and the train. They remain unaware, or choose to remain unaware, that unless they get off their duffs and get involved in shaping some key decisions right now, they will be stuck with accepting choices that will be made for them by somebody else. Exactly what happened on the last train trip.
Up in the coal car, a bunch of citizens are doing something. The ones who stabbed the engineer are busy hurling shovels full of coal into the firebox to increase the train’s speed. They want the train smashed to pieces. Others are busy slashing away at each other with knives and chains, hurling cries of, “Is too!” “Is NOT!” “ “You’re and idiot!” “Nuh-huh, YOU ARE!” “Neener-Neener-Neener,” all blissfully unaware that the luxury of debating and evaluating a wide variety of options is closing down rapidly. Like the passengers in the club car, they too seem blissfully unaware that their choices are vanishing as the speed of the train picks up and unless they focus and agree on certain key decisions right now, they too will be forced to accept solutions made for them by somebody else. Exactly what happened on the last train trip.
The dark clouds part and the moonlight suddenly reveals the tracks ahead. They point – again -- straight for the edge of the cliff.