Truckers just doing a job, glad to have it, but not necessarily are we heroic…

April 24, 2020

While I agree that in many instances truck drivers over time have not been given a lot of respect for the work that they do, I don’t see them as heroes now, and I am a truck driver.

We’re just doing our job. And as for me, glad I can still do it, so far.

(Individual truck drivers who come to the aid of their fellow man, say a motorist broken down on the highway or someone in an accident or otherwise in need, notwithstanding, a truck driver is no more a hero for doing his or her job than anyone else who braves the Covid-19 atmosphere.)

I think before this Covid-19 thing, a lot of the bad relations between truck drivers and the general public has had to do with problems out on the roadway. Long before I got into trucking, my second career, I used to get irritated at truckers who seemed to want to run me off the road. I recall once driving on a two-lane state highway in heavy rain. I was going a little slower than the speed limit I imagine. This tanker truck comes barreling down the road in back of me, honking his air horn, forcing me onto the side of the highway.  Also, back in the 1970s, out on the interstate I noticed something that seemed to be different than when I was a kid. Trucks in my mind used to always be in the slow lane our of the way of the rest of the traffic, even on the flatlands. But now (in those 1970s) they seemed to always be in the left lane going faster than the speed limit and crowding my bumper. I was not a trucker then, and it did not make me like truckers (although I did not spend much time thinking about it, or I did not become anti-trucker).

And the litter spewed all over the highways and byways, certainly not all by truckers, but the piss bottles and the empty plastic gallon jugs of heavy-weight motor oil, and nowadays DEF too (diesel exhaust fluid), do tend to identify a lot of it as from them.

(Oh, yeah, I do see litter flying out of car windows and the back of the nowadays ubiquitous huge pickup trucks — used by so many who haul nothing but themselves).

So some bad apples among truckers make us all look bad. Well that is of course because truckers are just a cross section of society and that is the way it goes.

(Actually, since deregulation in the 1980s I guess they are even a wider cross section than previous times. No longer are we all farm boys who practically grew up on a truck or field tractor or both, born in the saddle or driver’s seat so to speak.)

But yes, we truck drivers are taking a risk out here with this Covid-19, as are all who are working at this time — geez! think of the medical workers, the doctors and nurses and other staff, right down to the cleaning detail. Yeah, they are the heroes.

But a trucker friend of mine ordered a meal from Outback over the phone, and when this trucker went to pick it up the worker there said it was free in honor of what the truckers do — uh, I don’t mean to create a rush to Outback. Not sure that was regular policy or just a random act of kindness. I’d bring your money if I were you.

But if folks want to compliment truckers, that is nice and much appreciated.

I can only hope the bad apples don’t continue to give us a bad name.

And most of all I wish good health to us all, that is all the public.

 

 

 


Realizing the big deal about Abraham Lincoln…

February 12, 2009

(Copyright 2009)

The anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday comes once a year and he was already ancient history when I was born, although there were still some surviving Civil War veterans when I was younger.

But I had wondered what all the fuss about his upcoming birthday (today, Feb. 12, 2009) was all about when suddenly I caught a headline this morning that said it was the 200th anniversary of his birth. I’m kind of like the small town newspaper editor who realizes he’s too late, that he’s missed an important date, like the first day of spring when you’re supposed to run the obligatory seasonal photo.

Well, even though I usually write my blogs in what I believe they call essay form, a blog is not a formal essay, it’s not a research paper, and this one is just one man’s opinion and observation, so don’t expect any scholarly research here.

But I thought I ought to write a few words about Lincoln, because many historians have concluded that he was our greatest president ever.

I’m not sure about that, but I will say he has to be right up there and he was, to risk understatement, a man for the time. He kept the union together, although at great cost. But who knows what that cost might have been in terms of the development of democracy and what has become a unique experiment in self-government, the United States of America, if he had failed. (And by the way, the word unique has nearly lost its true meaning, one of a kind, with folks proclaiming things to be “the most unique”, but I believe the USA to be unique, even though others try to copy us.)

If you don’t do further reading in history beyond the grade school or even high school curriculum, you might be left with the impression that Lincoln’s greatness was simply in the fact that he freed the slaves.

Well, in the end that is what happened. And while I have gone from thinking that the Civil War was over slavery, to thinking that slavery was more of a side issue, and back to thinking that slavery was the real underlying issue after all, to simply tag old Abe as the guy who freed the slaves is not to appreciate him or his presidency.

We might also want to recall that in true Republican form and as the first president belonging to the modern Republican Party he offered incentives, even giveaways, to private business to develop the first transcontinental railroad, linking us all together from sea to shining sea (completed after his death).

The thing I have to wonder about is what so possessed Lincoln to go to war with the breakaway southern states and commit the lives of so many (the Civil War was the nation’s deadliest with a combined total of 620,000 dead, for both the North and South). Possibly, I have to believe, he did not dream in his worst nightmares that the cost would be so high. I don’t think George W. Bush dreamed the cost in Iraq would be so high. And just like Bush, Lincoln took a long time to find a general that would fight. He finally found Ulysses S. Grant (and William Tecumseh Sherman too). Bush finally found Gen. David Petraeus (and I don’t know if this is a good comparison or analogy). But that and the fact that Bush too was a Republican president is where the comparisons probably should stop. However, I’m sure Bush has to cling to the idea that in sticking to his war policy in the Middle East he showed the fortitude in adversity as Lincoln did, otherwise he has no legacy.

(It is only fair to note, however, that although Bush has been heavily criticized for the overreaching of power by his administration and limiting civil liberties and violating the constitutional separation of powers between the three branches of government, Lincoln took on powers no other president had proclaimed and was responsible for such things as suspending the right of habeas corpus (access by individuals to the courts), the imprisonment of 18,000 suspected southern sympathizers without trial, and spending money without appropriations from Congress.)

Had Lincoln gone to war and failed to preserve the union he’d be nothing but a bad memory. But he was successful, and then the thanks he got, as we all know, is that he was assassinated.

Lincoln and a whole host of other presidents have found that it’s lonely at the top.