The only thing I “enjoy” about flying on an airplane is that 9 times out of 10 it is quicker than driving. I probably only fly four or six times a year. I have never found the experience friendly, relaxing and since 9/11, necessarily convenient. For me it is more a necessary evil than it is a convenience.
Rarely do I fly out of my local airport. It is just too expensive. So I make the two or three-hour trip to Charlotte or Atlanta knowing that when I come home tired and tense from my flight my journey home still isn’t over.
“Our” businessman President ran and was elected on the idea that our government was too big and inefficient. A common Republican and conservative theme. That anything our government was managing could be done more efficiently and at less cost by a private entity. This idea is from the Steve Bannon playbook of “…bring everything crashing down, and destroy all of today’s establishments.” President Trump’s proposed budget includes one of these privatization experiments, moving oversight of the U.S. air traffic control from the federal government to an independent private entity.
Now I realize that flying on an airplane is much safer than driving a car. But for me the stress of flying all boils down to simply a lack of control. From the time you enter an airport to the time you leave you have relinquished any and all control that you think you might have. Your life, and your safety is placed squarely in the hands of people you don’t know.
When we walk on to that airplane and buckle our seatbelts each of us are simply putting our faith in something that is bigger than the individuals in the cockpit or in the control tower. That something is the federal government, an entity not concerned about profits or shareholders but you and I.
This little idea is just the tip of the Bannon iceberg. Trump is proposing massive cuts in funding to the Environmental Protection Agency, Health and Human Services, Education, Housing and Urban Development and Transportation while bumping up Veterans Affairs, Homeland Security and Defense. Can you say playing to your base of deplorables?
Trump’s budget and Bannon’s ideas are a long way from becoming a reality. But it is out there, on paper, being discussed and debated. For me the Federal Government is in the protection business, that is what we pay them to do. And that protection extends beyond just you and I, it also includes our environment which apparently Trump and Bannon disagree with as well.
Pay attention to Trump’s budget. Read the fine print and express your views to your representatives. Some important programs like Meals on Wheels through the Community Development Block Grant would take a substantial hit or in some impoverished areas simply go away because of lack of funding. I deliver Meals on Wheels and for many people on my route it is the only meal they will eat that day and typically the only human encounter they will have as well. And the next time you are in an airplane getting ready to take-off or land think about who would prefer to be in charge, Air Traffic Control, Inc. with a board of directors made up of all the major airlines and shareholders looking for a dividend or good old Uncle Sam.