Today’s political climate feels more like a twisted three-ring circus of controversy than an environment aimed at resolving (or even addressing) our nation’s true challenges. Ultimately, this perverse shell game of blame and sensationalism is placing our national security at risk. Unfortunately, Congress, the Administration and the media have all managed to keep the country from focusing or caring that nothing is being done about it.
Over the past several weeks, Americans have developed whiplash looking back and forth at all of the controversial issues placed before them. Consider the time and attention given to the Benghazi attack, the IRS scandal, gun control, wireless surveillance, and Internet data collection.
Now consider the amount of time and attention given to the following two reports that should be causing enormous concern:
- The ASCE 2013 Report Card for America’s Infrastructure
- The US EPA’s Drinking Water Infrastructure Needs Survey and Assessment
According to the ASCE, the nation’s drinking water and wastewater infrastructure earned a “D” grade on its national report card. As if that weren’t bad enough, the EPA, which just released its own assessment, indicates that a $384 billion investment is needed over the next 20 years to repair, upgrade or replace thousands of miles of pipes and thousands of treatment plants, storage tanks and water distribution systems, “which are all vital to public health and the economy.”
I’m not saying the hot-button issues and headlines of today aren’t important – they are. I am, however, saying that the noise associated with politically charged issues, like the IRS scandal and wireless tapping, are drowning out the fact that we’re not going to be able to drink from our faucets or flush our toilets if we don’t begin making a real investment in water infrastructure soon.
Not sure how to make that sexy enough to get some attention under the big top, but we better do something soon or things are going to get real messy, real quick – and I’m not referring to politics.