TANGENTS: Politicians owe us break in the weather

TANGENTS By John Saccenti: When are politicians going to do something about the cold weather.

By: John Saccenti
   I’m mad as hell, and, well, I’m not gonna take it any more.
   I’m the kind of mad that only a well written letter to President George Bush, Gov. James McGreevey and local elected officials can fix.
   It will be wonderfully crafted, well written and compelling. And, if it’s none of those things, well, they’d better listen anyway, because if they want my vote, then the politicians will stop dawdling and address something that has been a problem for far too long — the weather.
   It’s cold and frankly I’ve just about had it with all the zipped lips regarding the issue.
   When President Bush spoke during his State of the Union Address last week, he talked about a $300 million initiative for prisoners released from jail. He also has floated a billion-plus dollar proposal to promote marriage. Nice ideas, I guess. I’m sure they’ll help someone, someday.
   But what about me? What about us? What about the past week, and the next few months? We need relief, and if government can find money for proposals like the ones above, then why can’t they even make a token stab at raising the temperature? Just a little bit, enough to make it safe to walk to my car.
   The government’s blind eye toward this hot-button issue is nothing short of gross negligence. It’s far too cold. And, it’s getting colder. Dangerously cold.
   Listen, two weeks ago we got 4 or so inches of snow and it’s still there now lying beneath several more inches. Why, I remember a time when 4 inches of snow was nothing, washed away days later by above-freezing temperatures and rain. But not now. Because of the government’s inaction, that 4 inches of snow now lingers for weeks, maybe longer.
   Sure, it’s mostly a comfort thing for me. But, if politicians need a more important reason to warm this up, then they don’t have to look far. As I see it, the cold also is a public health issue, and doing something now will not only save lives, it also could save the medical industry millions of dollars.
   With record setting lows and even lower wind chills it’s icy, dangerous and every single one of us is at risk from all sorts of weather-related ailments, including frostbite.
   But still, nothing has been done. Nor does it seem likely that anything will be done, or even proposed.
   Why the lack of action? Why hasn’t the governor, or president, or my local mayor, or even the Democratic candidates for president even made a token proposal to alleviate the chill that is making all of New Jersey miserable?
   Perhaps our leaders are in the pocket of big business snow-removal companies, rock salt manufacturers and snow shovel salesmen. It wouldn’t surprise me.
   Why, when election season rolls around, I have half a mind to vote for someone with a little backbone, someone who addresses my concerns. A parka for every man, woman and child, that’s the campaign slogan I want to see next year. Take the initiative, turn the earth on its axis, get space heaters, speed up global warming. Anything. Just do something. I’m sure there’s a plan sitting around on some dusty old shelf in Washington, D.C. that will do the trick.
   The only person who’s come even close to addressing the temperature is President Bush, whose changes in environmental policy may mean more greenhouse gases and as a result, warmer climates.
   Unfortunately, this proposal, while noble, will help no one this year, and, according to his own people, will actually do nothing at all in terms of increasing the temperature in the long term either.
   Listen. I’m a taxpayer. I’m demanding my rights. I want it warm, or at the very least, warm-ER. That’s why I’m going to write a letter. It’s time someone woke up those clowns in government before it gets any colder.
   If they want my vote, they’ll have to do something, fast.
John Saccenti is the news editor for the South Brunswick Post and The Cranbury Press and actually likes winter. He can be reached via e-mail at jsaccenti@pacpub.com.