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View Diary: Cars Cause Republicanism (338 comments)

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  •  I totally agree... (4.00)
    but I came at this conclusion from the other side, I think.  

    I do own a car (but rarely drive).  However, I take public transportation much more often.  I'm on the bus and the train, and I must see my neighbors.

    I see senior citizens who have to drag their groceries around.  I see minorities who are hard working people.  I see people speaking other languages who are happy and well adjusted.  I see small children whose families have come here for a chance at a better life.

    I think public transportation reminds us that we are all in the same boat.  Well, at least it does for me....

    •  I don't agree with the diary's theme... (4.00)
      ... but I have had the same experience as you have.  I own a car but rarely use it and take public transportation to work.  You must share space with others... and everyday I have the opportunity to interact with others.. whether it's getting up from my seat and letting someone old or disabled take it, or striking up conversation on the train, etc, etc.  The interaction with others makes me feel good and in the long run, I think it's healthier than being isolated for an hour or more each way in a car.  

      But from my vantage point, I don't see the use of cars as a cause of Republicanism or Conservatism.  I think it's more a symptom of the realities of the choices ALL of us have made regarding urban planning and infastructure over the course of decades.  

      The suburbanization of America is one of the biggest stories of the 20th century.  I think the gradual revival of our urban spaces will be one of the biggest stories of the 21st century.  We have made many mistakes in the way that we've built communities in America.  But I think that more and more people are waking up and turning back to cities or incorporating the positive elements of cities in the creation of communities.

      Democrats live in the exburbs too.  Many of those that commute to work... one per car... are Democrats.  Are cars turning them into Republicans???  I don't think so.  The reality in many communities is that it's cheaper to live farther out.  That is the reality where I live in the D.C. area.  I've made a conscious choice to pay more to live next to a subway station.  I would pay almost half the rent I currently pay and have a bigger living space if I moved 15 miles out.  But if you were to look down on those that are not willing make that choice, you would be an elitist.  That is their choice given the options available to them.  

      One of the top goals of Democrats should be smart design of communities, controlling and regulating sprawl, and investing less in roads and more in the infastructure of public transportation.

      Sinclair Lewis' "It Can't Happen Here"... Wake the fuck up America! IT'S HAPPENING HERE!!!

      by wintersnowman on Wed Jan 04, 2006 at 05:52:39 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I know title is deliberately provocative (4.00)
        but I think the basic premise is correct--that the car culture enabled the suburbs, which is where people moved when they could afford to move away from the riff-raff in the city....isolating themselves.  Now they don't have to think about the poor people, poverty is an abstract concept of some "others".

        And yes, a variety of people live in the exurbs now, partly because there isn't affordable housing closer in.  And partly because the schools can be better.  But I think that's a consequence of people leaving the cities for perceived safety of suburbia, and the city schools losing much of the range of families they would have had in the past.

        •  We can sit here and pretend (none)
          That there is something "quaint" about gang violence, crack houses, and crumbling schools with under-qualified teachers, and hate on families living in the suburbs...OR we can get off our collective high-horse and start seriously addressing the plagues hanging upon our beloved urban dwellings.
          •  You think (none)
            Violence, crack houses, and bad schools don't happen in the suburbs?
          •  Suburban kids take drugs too. (4.00)
            That's why I said it was perceived safety.  And all those major school shootings have been....??

            The documentary on New York (I think it was Burns...) went into great detail on how the highways that were gashes through the hearts of cities like NY caused major disruption to the previously stable neighborhoods that were mixed income places, leaving many of the poorer residents adrift from social safety nets.

            Here in my city we are doing something about it.  We are working very hard to increase the public transportation.  We are working very hard on mixed-use development.  

            We are, in fact, trying to recreate the community the way it used to be.  Some of us are off the high horse.

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