The other night I watched an old movie from the 80s called Field of Dreams. Somehow I managed to get through an hour and a half of the worst Hollywood schmaltz imaginable. Some guy hears voices and builds a baseball field in the middle of an Iowa cornfield. And guess what? Magic happens! Long dead baseball players show up to knock the old horsehide around.
Today I realized that 90 minutes of my life hadn’t been wasted after all.
“If you build it, he will come…” He did, and he did. I noticed the same blind faith in principalities of the air in those who kept, and keep yammering about the Trail to Nowhere.
These folk believe that simply building something will cause users to show up on their field of dreams. Somehow. Sometime. Even though they never bother to identify who those users are going to be. And I suspect that this one practical effort is dutifully avoided because at some visceral level they don’t even care if the trail is used by anybody.
Field of Dreams is all about the suspension of reality if you really, really, really just wish it hard enough.
As has been pointed out by several FFFF commenters, there is a mindset that cherishes gesture, not effectiveness, good intention over good outcome. And when this is compounded with the old liberal attitude of happily patronizing minorities (ahem, underserved populations) by granting them government largesse, the recipe is complete.
Anybody who has been along this strip of real estate knows a few things. They can’t figure out who on earth would want to use this as a trail and that the so-called Phase I has been at utter failure in use and design as a recreation facility – even when its terminus, Union Pacific Park, was open. The proposed Phase II runs through desolate industrial buildings, used tire stores, plating and asphalt business; it traverses junk yards parking lots with junk cars. Somehow this bleak, linear experience offers a golden shower of dreams to government employees with too much money and their do-gooding camp followers who seem to think that spending money is more important than spending it well. See, it’s the thought that counts. Just build it. You’ll feel good about yourself.