Monday, September 21, 2015

Amber Waves of Median Grass

On a recent road trip halfway across this vast nation, I was struck, as I always am, by the sheer emptiness of much of the country. We have huge uninhabited forests and expansive meadows; miles of desert and endless mountain ranges.

I understand that much of it is privately owned. Much of it, however, is owned by the federal government.

Now of course all I'm seeing on my road trip is the Interstate and the mostly private lands that border it. Here is the Interstate system:

It covers 47,856 miles. Most of those miles have a grassy, very pretty median in the middle, all of it federally owned. (By the way, that "fact" about every fifth mile of the Interstate needing to be flat and straight so as to be used as an airstrip in times of war? False. I was guilty of spreading that one for years.)

All of that was a set-up for a very simple (stupid) solution to the world's refugee problem. We could fit every single refugee - from every single country - into our medians. Give them tents from Walmart or affordable storage sheds from Lowe's. Power and water exist along most of the routes. Little refugee villages all across the nation, reminding us of where we all came from and how we all got here.

What would we feed them? Oh, I about the leftovers from the countless Cracker Barrel restaurants scattered along the Interstates? Or the 40% of the food we waste in this country. 

Of course it'll never happen. But next time I'm watching hoards of beleaguered families wandering down dusty paths toward the hope of a better life, I'm remembering those vast swaths of emptiness, those dumpsters full of food and my own good life.   


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  • Interesting, but there's a slight problem in that newcomers are notorious jaywalkers, plus people would always be pulling over to hire them off the books for various labor duties. I just don't think you've thought this through.

    By Anonymous Anonymous, at September 25, 2015 at 5:54 AM  

  • Like I said, Anon. A simple (stupid) solution.

    And I love your observations.

    By Blogger RFB, at September 25, 2015 at 12:23 PM  

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