13 September 2009

Passing Trains.

Date: Early 1940's (inferred from the GS-4 on the point and the use of full-width diaphragms); Time: Approximately 8:30 AM. Place: Lower San Francisco peninsula. The Coast Daylight (left) to Los Angeles passes the north-bound Lark, the last two cars of which, having been been split off from the main consist at San José, are now en route to Oakland.
Longfellow wrote of ships. But I've always been partial to trains. In the United States, long distance rail travel was at its pinnacle in the years preceding and following World War II. The most famous passenger trains, the Twentieth Century Ltd. and the Superchief, each traversed half the continent, allowing for connection in Chicago. But for my money, it was traffic along Southern Pacific's "coast route" that set the standard. With "Golden State" class steam locomotives on the point, trains like the Coast Daylight and the Lark linked California's two largest cities, affording their riders speed, comfort and incomparable views of the Pacific, the latter accessible only by rail.

Nations also pass each other with "only a signal shown and a distant voice in the darkness." Sometimes the occupants of one vessel are more cognizant of the moment than those of the other. In the Russian press, one finds discussion of the changes now propelling America in the direction of socialism or something worse. Stanislav Mishin ("American Capitalism Gone with a Whimper") advises that
"... Russian owners of American companies and industries should look thoughtfully at ... the option of closing their facilities down and fleeing the land of the Red as fast as possible. In other words, divest while there is still value left."
Closer to home, Svetlana Kunin, who came to America in 1980, writes as follows:
"In the USSR, economic equality was achieved by redistributing wealth, ensuring that everyone remained poor, with the exception of those doing the redistributing. ...

"When I ... experienced life in this country, I thought it was fortunate that those living in the USSR did not know how unfortunate they were.

"Now in 2009, I realize how unfortunate it is that many Americans do not understand how fortunate they are. They vote to give government more and more power without understanding the consequences." ["The Perspective of a Russian Immigrant," IBD Editorials]
Just so. The deficiencies of contemporary Russian "democracy" notwithstanding, our country is headed whence came the motherland. Meanwhile, the New York Times, along with other representatives of the fourth estate, does what it can to ignore burgeoning evidence of the incipient Marxist takeover. And, of course, there is the pitter-patter of little feet, the advance, now quickening, of slow variables that aim to "unseam us," as it were, "from the nave to the chops" — all this, twenty years after the Berlin Wall. Mmm, mmm, mmm!

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