Monday, October 22, 2012


Blue Water Bridge traffic--On Canada side heading towards U.S.--photo by Jim Steinhart -- 2011

The Port Huron Times Herald has given part of the story on our Blue Water Bridge international traffic.   More Canadian car traffic has come to do business with us these past 2 months than they did in the same months a year ago.  The best such U.S. bound car traffic since 2002.  Good News!  But a quick web search reveals that total car and truck traffic {both East & West directions} hit its record height--6,138,850--in 1991.  Total traffic counts the most, as indicator of U.S. / Canada trade and tourism.  Our truck export trips to Canada certainly need inclusion.  Total traffic was close to breaking the 6 million mark again in the year 2000, but since 911 it has decreased almost every year, planing off at about 5.12 million last year. 

he headline in the Times Herald article was “Busier Border.”  It’s interesting to note that the projected MDOT traffic {from a 1998 study} would put us at 10,179,932 for this year 2012.  Instead we can’t reach even the 1991 high mark.  Important to consider is how the past decade has been spent in creating a “bunkered border.”  Have we all forgotten the two hour waits to make the crossing, the stories of family travelers made to lie prostrate handcuffed by cadres of heavily armed border guards?  Have we not seen the fleet of brand new border patrol vehicles parked in Marysville, and sometimes making the rounds up and down the river?  The millions of dollars high tech camera towers planted from Detroit to Port Huron, trying to do what the “mooned balloon” cameras couldn’t consistently do?  

Billions have been dedicated to beef up a Department of Homeland Security. Yet in the more than ten years since 911, not one terrorist incident apprehended at our borders, north or south.  Why couldn’t this kind of money be spent to provide the infrastructure, education, and new clean energy sources, for trade and commerce to prosper in our part of the world?  To paraphrase past Republican President Eisenhower—someday the people are going to want peaceful enterprise so bad that the government is going to have to get out of the way and let them have it. 

o quote the Trappist monk Thomas Merton:  The root of all war is fear: not so much the fear men have of one another as the fear they have of everything. …  They cannot trust anything because they have ceased to believe in God.”  Let us take to heart the words from God that resound through all of scripture--be not afraid.  If we don’t respond to this real life challenge, we’ll continue to dwindle, hemmed in by our vast array of homeland security.

Illuminations by Kathy Brahney

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