a 14 foot long front view of tracks to freedom

In the middle 1860s people secretly moved themselves almost as cargo might ship  from the Southern States of the US to a more promising life in the North. Only these people had no safe containers to travel in and no legitimate avenues to travel on. The passage ways these people took to attain what they hoped would be a better life came to be known as The Under Ground Railroad. There were no transportation tickets for slaves to buy, no planes for these people to catch.

Several years later many of  these same people would help America build its actual railroads-ones leading to the west.

Free to help build our country

The wooden crossties, railroad ties, were approximately 8 and 1/2 feet long weighing up to 200 pounds each. Still, many people worked all the live long day laying track. And you know many of these workers knew some of the very people who had once enslaved them might even ride on these very same rails.  Still, they worked to lay tracks out west.

And they made it happen

But all this track laying and celebration came after the building of the Under Ground Railroad. The ones lucky enough to move on this railroad traveled daily in fear of being  beaten, shot or hung if caught. Their stays along the way while traveling this railroad consisted of secret back rooms, damp cellars, barns, farmer’s fields and isolated woods. Food came as it could-not from a shelf in a store but as it was caught, given  or stolen. It is certainly a world experience hard to imagine while living in today’s life full of supermarkets, luxury homes and cars. But mostly it is a world hard to imagine while living in a society with comparative freedoms as we do in the US now. Thankfully times have changed.

It is odd to think that a real likeness to this same image, the past image of an imaginary railroad that led people to safety and to freedom,  is perhaps the same real existing thing that could once again lead American people out of a sort of bind. You know-a freight train today can move one ton  of goods 436 miles on just one gallon of fuel! Just imagine if all our commerce moved on our rails today? How much freedom from the  price structures of gasoline would this afford the American people today?

But wait! Many say our rail system is too downgraded to do the work. Well, isn’t there a whole bunch of people running around saying we need jobs? Lets get to work and lay tracks to the future. Others say they don’t want a big government subsidized rail system. Gee…what subsidizes the building and repair of our roads  everyday?

People say ” But no there is no money to rebuild America, to create a high speed rail system now.” Well, lets cry together when remembering the wealthiest in America just beat down a 4% tax increase on their earnings through muscling their way into  Congress. Do you want to know what the tax % was on the 1% of the wealthiest in America when America did and could build the roads and dams we still use today? Drum roll please……90%. Yeah, 90% taxes on the rich helped build this country and the rich stayed rich, even back then at this 90% tax rate—this is how much money our rich actual did and do have.

There is plenty of money to rebuild America. It’s just the ones who have the money won’t spend it on the US, not any more.  We need another type of RailRoad to get this job done.

Mistakes may happen along the way

But we can leave the old days behind and make a new start.

Here’s hoping.  Can we make it happen again?


*Some pictures from Wigwag.wordpress.com

** I built this 14 foot long track thinking all the time of how far we have come as a society since the days of slavery. A co-worker, Gail, helped with the various photographs we time-lined placed along the track. Enjoy.

2/8/11   WAIT!!! this story just in about a high speed rail in the US. Now we’re talking!

Write all your congressional representatives-America needs to get this done. China already has an excellent high speed rail system in place.