The nation is fragmented. The Trump train gains steam as he taps into the deep-rooted anger and frustration of those tired of Washington dysfunction. The Sanders phenomenon taps into a generation embarassed by its political, media and business forebears.
The construction industry can unite us. We are a microcosm of the nation, complete with socialists, capitalists, laborers, managers, young and old. Together, we accomplish work that brings fulfillment to all involved. We build that others may benefit.
The citizens in Flint, Mich., could certainly benefit. Beneath communities across the country, water and wastewater infrastructure lies unseen and failing. The same can be said for gas pipelines and bridges. Our growing dependence on wireless communications and electrical power requires improvement, not only in connecting us all but also in securing the sources of that connection: our grid.
A construction industry revitalized and focused on infrastructure and public works projects can unite the nation. These projects put people to work: young, old, skilled, unskilled, regardless of political or moral tendencies.
This is what the federal government should be doing. It’s not a presidential plank, either. Rather, we should question our Senators and Representatives about what they will do to unite the nation behind an effort to secure our infrastructure. Press them, because the money will have to come from somewhere.
The Association of Equipment Manufacturers continues to beat this drum with great effect. Its Infrastructure Vision 2050 Challenge gives those in the equipment industry a place to start.
“The United States is the strongest and largest economy in the world and yet the overall quality of our infrastructure is falling dramatically behind our global competitors,” AEM president Dennis Slater said. We agree.
Consider our parents and grandparents, united across all barriers that could separate, as they built the public work projects that we take for granted today. They built this country on public works. They built a life for themselves and for their families.
We can answer many of the nation’s problems by tackling this one singular issue of aging infrastructure. It’s an election year, and those begging for our votes are those who need to turn their attention to the issue.
It’s time for all of us to get off our high horses, to think of other people instead of ourselves. As a nation, we must deal with our No. 1 domestic issue: infrastructure.