That was the headline in a recent copy of the Reflector; I found it painfully applicable to a situation detailed in a different article. That article, titled instead "State invites comments on SR-502 project" explained just exactly what will happen when WSDOT turns 219th St into a four lane highway, changing the lives of everyone in the area. Let me quote the article itself, as it displayed unusual genius for listing each catastrophic effect in a numbingly banal fashion. "Create 28 acres of new impervious surfaces"--Well that's an incredible way to put it. A full 28 acres of asphalt poured between us and the ground. Hopkins wrote "nor can Man's foot feel, being shod". I think this lends new meaning to his poem...oh, the world is still charged with the grandeur of God, but in an age of progress and efficiency, society will try to keep God's handiwork to an absolute minimum while vaunting Man's creations to the utmost. How anyone can really view "impervious surfaces" as an improvement on grass remains mysterious to me. But then I was always the one asking why today's society values money over land. True value seems beyond anyone's ability to grasp these days. "Convert 54-60 acres of grassland, forest, and agricultural land to roadway"--Tell me I am not the only human being left on this earth whose heart does not cry out in agony at that chilling statement. I cannot further expound on it: it is devastation. "Displace 16-22 businesses and 20-30 homes"--Here we come to something I cannot regard as other than evil. I understand that Eminent Domain is within the government's prerogative, and that building roads is considered necessary for the common good. (Thank goodness there are still some who question the governement's power to arbitrariliy throw up strip malls where it chooses.) But something in me rebells at the thought of any man coming onto my property and telling me I must sell or the government will condemn my land and do with it whatsoever it pleases. It is vile to set a price on the roots we send into our land, to so calculatingly evaluate the deep and natural love we have for home. Vile and loathsome to tell a homeowner that his protests amount to nothing and that if he does not sell he will be forceably evicted. (Oh yes, with compensation. How kind.) "Adversely affect three historically significant properties"--At this point, that's just icing on the cake. Tomorrow is our independence day. I wonder how independent we can truly say we are when we, American citizens, cannot own property. We rent it from the government through property taxes and live there at the government's pleasure. If the day comes when the government decides it needs what we jestingly say we "own", it's a wry smile, wad of cash to the hand, and swift kick in the back. Do I have strong feelings about this? Strong feelings about the fate of those who live in places WSDOT has decreed should be highway instead? About the government's legal right and indisputable propensity to ruin lives? Yes I do. But as the headline so aptly stated, it changes nothing.
From Catherine_Creagan - 3.7.09