I haven’t written in a while, largely due to all the time and energy I spent at our annual conference in Calgary. This year’s meeting was terrific, what with the World conference co-located with ours and the terrific setting and hospitality provided by our hosts. But I saw something in the paper that prompts me to write today.
Specifically, it was a story about the end of the NFL’s lockout of its game officials. I followed this story because I love football (NY Giants Super Bowl Champs!!!) and because the president of the Referees Association, Scott Green, is a former colleague of mine on the staff of then-Sen. Joe Biden. Scott is one of the more solid and disciplined people I’ve ever met, and he basically looks exactly the same as back in the 1980’s. Unlike yours truly.
Anyway, what got my attention was that the lockout was settled after what was called “national outrage” about mistakes made by the replacements, especially in the recent Monday nighter between the Packers and Seahawks. Even President Obama weighed in, as did dozens of other political figures from across the political spectrum.
Well, I’m delighted the lockout is over. But I must admit to amusement over this “national outrage” that caused action. I know a lot of people love football, and lots of them bet heavily on it. So I understand their outrage. And I am glad to see that outrage can get action.
But it does raise a question. Where is the outrage about other matters of more lasting importance? How about outrage about the state of our infrastructure? I have never heard ANYONE argue that our infrastructure is excellent. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t think it is important. But there is no outrage. Or even, seemingly, widespread interest. Every now and then there is a catastrophic failure. But even in those cases, the outrage and concern last a week or two.
I am glad public outrage brought the NFL’s plutocrats to their senses. I wish we could bottle even 5 percent of that outrage and energy and focus it on infrastructure. Our Airports for the Future initiative is a start. Won’t you join us and help throw a flag on our outdated system for financing aviation infrastructure? There is no one betting on any of this in Las Vegas. But we are wagering our future as an economically competitive nation.