Tuesday, September 11, 2007

A light in the Forrest

I don’t know why, but for some reason “Forrest Gump” seemed to be on non-stop last month. I hadn’t seen it in a long time, and managed to watch most of it, out of order, by hitting the channel at various times of the day (and night).

I came to the conclusion that, like the Bible and the U.S. Constitution, you could apply some part of this wonderful movie to just about any situation in life.

Take the Mexican pilot program, for instance. As Forrest’s Momma used to say, “Life is like a box of chocolates. You never know what you’re gonna get.” That sure seems to be the case here.

While the companies participating may be cherry-picked to meet the program’s requirements, one has to wonder what happens when – not if – the pilot program is deemed a success. As Land Line Staff Writer David Tanner wrote elsewhere on this blog, all the pieces are in place to create a NAFTA superslab.

Or as Forrest put it: “I ran clear to the ocean. And when I got there, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well turn around, just keep on going. When I got to another ocean, I figured, since I’d gone this far, I might as well just turn back, keep right on going.”

The U.S. lacks sufficient muscle to adequately inspect and monitor domestic truck lines – or to adequately patrol our ports and air freight centers – so where will the added oversight come from?

Nashville, where I work, has seen some pretty bad truck wrecks in the past few months, and in a lot of cases, the drivers either lacked experience or had poor driving records, or both. I already worry about domestic truck drivers and owners who can’t read or speak English – not that they all come from outside our borders – and who can’t or won’t maintain their vehicles at minimum standards of safety.

In the Darwinian world of trucking, survival is often of the cheapest, and some drivers push their luck too far trying to stay in the black. As for the others, as Forrest would say, “Stupid is as stupid does.”

So don’t give up questioning the whys and hows and whats of this “pilot” program. We have legitimate concerns (and we’re not alone in this). ” If the pilot program goes forward, it will move out of the bunker where it was conceived and into a glass house where all can see how well it works. Unlike Forrest, who at one point says dejectedly, “Sometimes, I guess there's just not enough rocks,” we got enough rocks to pave an exit ramp.