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Who’s that enjoying the George Miller Trail?

Congressman Emeritus, George Miller, at a recent meeting of Martinez Rotary. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)
Congressman Emeritus, George Miller, at a recent meeting of Martinez Rotary. (PAUL CRAIG / Courtesy)

By PAUL CRAIG
Special to Martinez Tribune

Why, it’s George Miller of course! He loves the eponymously named trail. He loves the out-of-doors and loves Martinez. He seems to love retirement, though he’s keeping busy consulting. George is our Congressman Emeritus, having served in the U.S. Congress for 40 years. He’s among the first of the baby boomers, and deserves to retire with honor.

George Miller told Rotary that he’s seen lots of elections, and the current U.S. Presidential race is the strangest ever. The Congress is totally polarized and totally paralyzed. The furthest left of the Republicans is to the right of the furthest right of the Dems. No wonder they can’t agree. Yet he’s cautiously optimistic about the long run. Politics runs in cycles, and this cycle will end someday. When is anyone’s guess.

Politics is the art of the possible. Bargaining is the name of the game. You need allies, and you need something to offer. Over the decades George has had his share of successes and failures. Mostly successes.

He’s a believer in “pay as you go.” Years ago he proposed a balanced budget. For a time, the government agreed. Then things changed. We’ve been paying for our wars by borrowing. We’re passing the cost to future generations. Ditto for infrastructure like bridges and roads, which are decaying. Bad!

Ditto too for education, which is getting ever more expensive. Education is the key to the nation’s economic survival. When we short-change education and science, we short-change our kids and grandkids.

Science “tells it like it is” – whether we like it or not. In some areas we accept science. When you have a toothache, you want a well-trained dentist. When you go to Kaiser or John Muir for help with your arthritis, you want your doctor to be trained in arthritis medicine. You don’t call your dentist! If you want to build a bridge, you go to a trained engineer – neither your M.D. nor your dentist.

Climate change seems different. Why are there so many deniers? The proper approach is: If you want to know about climate change, you should ask someone whose made a career of studying climate. What’s so hard about that? The answer: It’s real; and it’s going to affect us all.

There comes a time to turn the battles over to others.
Welcome home, George. Happy (GMIII) Trails!

Rotary Report is a brief synopsis of weekly Martinez Rotary Club presentations, provided by a Rotary member. Rotary meets from 7:30-9 a.m. every Wednesday (excluding the last Wednesday of the month) at Grace Episcopal Church, 130 Muir Station Road, Martinez. For more information about the club, visit http://www.martinezrotary.org.

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