Thanks to those of you who chimed in on the subject of mass transit re: the post "Vision of the Anointed."
Thanks to varangianguard and Tom Greenacres for serving as editors and trying to help me find the right word to describe the tone of the lawyer who addressed St. Thomas Aquinas parish members during a recent 10:30 a.m. Mass on the subject of mass transit.
I incorrectly used the word "exonerate," which is neither here nor there -- "to relieve of responsibility" was not what I meant. Excoriate is closer to what I was going for, but in truth it's too strong: "to tear or wear the flesh off. To abrade."
Let's say we were exhorted -- "urged, advised" and in fact "admonished" to support mass transit, or risk the label of being socially unjust.
In keeping with this theme, please read Paul Ogden (Ogden on Politics) today; he attended last night's meeting of IndyCAN with state Sen. Mike Delph, R-Carmel, at Pilgrim Lutheran Church of Carmel, 3650 W. 106th St.
Here is the link to Ogden's blog:
Ogden reports that Delph, who has been "a skeptic of mass transit," nevertheless attended in good faith; as a Christian, he is open to "IndyCAN's message that religious faith is a reason to support the mass transit expansion.
"(But) What Senator Delph may have learned tonight is that there are people out there who are more than willing to misuse their religious faith and their leadership positions in churches to advance their pet political causes by falsely claiming those causes have to do with 'social justice.'"
More from Ogden:
"Senator Delph was led to believe that the meeting with IndyCAN would be an informational meeting, an opportunity to learn each other's positions. IndyCAN clearly had no intention of being involved in that type of meeting. It packed the hall with its supporters and invited the media. Then it proceeded with a tightly scripted agenda to make sure only one side of the issue was presented."
"Pastor Ronald Covington of the Friendship Missionary Baptist Church said the Delph meeting was about having a 'conversation' on mass transit. What would soon become clear was that the last thing IndyCAN wanted at the meeting was a conversation in which both sides would be heard.
"Pastor Covington's prayer prominently featured a plea that God support mass transit. I actually expected he would pray that God convince Senator Delph to support the mass transit bill."
Delph, in effect, was given 5 minutes to speak and then subjected to canned questions from the audience. Here's Ogden's conclusion:
"This dry accounting of the meeting doesn't begin to capture what it was actually like. The conduct of many of the IndyCAN members was utterly reprehensible and very unchristian. They were bullies who were not in the slightest bit interested in an honest exchange of ideas. Those who put on the meeting were especially at fault for the dishonest way in which they ran it. They weren't interested in a meeting in which both sides got heard. They had put on the meeting to set up Senator Delph, to put him in a position, in front of a room full of people with the media present in which he would feel so much pressure he'd pledge to support the mass transit bill. What a thoroughly disgusting tactic. Members of IndyCAN should be ashamed of what people on behalf of their organization tried to pull Monday night.
"While the IndyCAN representatives embarrassed themselves with their conduct, Senator Delph proved himself to be a class individual. He handled the unfortunate situation he was placed in with grace, dignity, and tolerance, the very embodiment of the Christian qualities that so many members of IndyCAN obviously lack."
Also, to answer blog reader John M's legitimate concerns about how much I actually ride the IndyGo bus: not often. I used to, when I worked, and lived off Hoover Road, but standing 45 minutes in a cold spring rain waiting for a bus that never came pretty much did me in. Guy (husband) rides the bus sometimes when he grades test papers at McGraw Hill on the Northwestside. He has to take the bus downtown and transfer there to come back up north to Butler-Tarkington. What is a 20 minute or less ride in the car takes more than an hour on the bus. It is also Guy who experienced urine on the seat of the bus, but that was an isolated incident.
I agree that this city needs and deserves a better, expanded, more efficient bus system. I'd love for the community to have a conversation about that. Unfortunately, the transit zealots have hijacked this issue, with light rail thrown in, and the result is a lot of rhetoric and shameless rah-rah in the Indianapolis Star, and not just on the editorial pages. It is embarrassing.
Finally, check out Anderson Cooper's CNN report on the boondoggle that mass transit has become in other states, with thanks to Gary Welsh/Advance Indiana for first publishing this...