Freeway Follies for Biden
Driving westbound on I-94 this morning, I was treated to the sight of two State Police cars on the side of the road, and one law enforcement vehicle with flashing lights atop every bridge between I-75 and Addison Street, or off to the south side of the pedestrian overpasses. It was an eerie sight, one I didn’t understand until I ran parked on the west side of Detroit and asked about it.
“The vice president was in town,” I heard. “He’s still here. They closed the entire freeway just for him.”
How times change. A generation or two ago, the visit of a vice president would have been very public, with a motorcade or at least somebody waving at crowds from the end of a caboose. Are today’s politicians so wary of the public that they not only take the freeway, but demand that it be shut down entirely, so that everybody else must wait, while they are whisked in? Gorbachev got out of his limo and delighted crowds by shaking hands. Biden, meanwhile, is handled as if he were radioactive.
It says something about changes in our political culture, that our leaders, formerly celebrated publicly, are shuttled around like Russian gangsters. Or that law enforcement’s obvious show of force is designed to intimidate anybody who’d dare come near the guy. I know the issues are unrelated, but what does it say when a grandmother on the east side calling about criminals breaking in can’t get a squad car to come right away, but that, as a society, we can find the resources to put dozens of squad cars over the freeway for 18 hours because a politician has come to town?
On the other hand, though, I’ve never seen drivers on I-94 so obedient. I didn’t see a car traveling at more than 65 mph.