2019-02-06 / Opinions & Letters

Staying with the times

Midwest Memo
by Alan Shultz

We took our recycling out to the Transfer Station this past Sunday afternoon. A strong, bright sun shown down on us making our mundane job mirror the fun of a spring day outing. Heat reflecting off the metal building out there made a coat unnecessary and so we sorted and tossed and enjoyed both the fresh air and the task at hand.

Without fail, I always have to ask Deb the same question about which cans are tin and which are not.

The Transfer Station seems to always be clean and tidy and I appreciate the convenience of the recycling set-up. A sign warns visitors that there is video monitoring going on and that leaving trash in the recycling is a crime. It makes me wonder about human nature - who would do such a thing?

Then again, I think I deposited some green glass in the brown glass bins. Sorry.

I appreciate county government’s allocation of tax dollars to provide the services of our local Transfer Station. The convenience of having the station, and the reasonable fees charged, surely do much to combat the scourge of illegal dumping.

An argument could be made that the Transfer Station ledger sheet does nothing to factor in the inevitable cleanup costs the county might face without such a facility.

On Sunday there was a certain irony in that there we were tending to our trash and yet drinking in this rather bucolic landscape of pristine looking farmland, the charming streetscape of Carroll Manor and the peace and quiet that pervaded that neck of the woods.

With everyone shopping on Amazon these days, it seems to me that cardboard recycling will make more and more sense just about everywhere. At our place in Chicago, I remember the days when we would go looking for a cardboard box. Often we had to go to the grocery store to score one. These days, just outside the service elevator one can find cardboard boxes on every apartment floor on every single day. Most sport the Amazon logo.

“We are drowning in cardboard,” one building engineer said to me last week.

I stumbled on a television program the other day - strictly partisan views poorly disguised as news. The three panel members seated on a couch were all laughing - hooting really - about recycling being a waste of time. They all seemed frightfully out of touch and pompous in their disregard of the theme of stewardship and individual responsibility that supports the call to recycling. If you don’t practice recycling - fine, that’s your business. But mocking the merits of it - well the three weren’t making any sense and sounded out of step with the times.

Regardless of age, it behooves everyone to keep up with the times. And I would suggest it is a critical requirement for holding public office these days.

Congressional hearings over the last few years involving computer technology have exposed many elected officials who don’t know their stuff when it comes to digital media, computer privacy and the state of high tech in today’s day and age.

That’s simply not good enough job performance.

And enough already for anyone in public office who is not open to new ideas.

Senate Majority leader Mitch McConnell made a good case last week on the Senate floor for someone to start planning him a big retirement party - soon.

With the bluster of someone bellowing from the stone age, McConnell blasted a Democrat proposal to make election day a Federal Holiday. But his complaints were far from merit based, far from a healthy presentation of a counter argument or a presentation of opposing ideas.

McConnell was clearly against considering a valid new idea.

Keeping up with the times requires being open to new ideas.

I like the idea of reevaluating the existing Federal holidays and maybe swapping one out for election-day.

I like the idea of debating the concept- anyway. Argue it up or down, just don’t dismiss it.

When I was a kid in Sunday School we sang a hymn which I was fond of. It contained the phrase “today has need of you.”

I love that idea, the idea that today needs us- needs us current and present in the now and open to new ideas.

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