Editorial: The future is now

Two decisions in the coming days, seemingly minor in the larger scheme of things, will actually reveal what kind of world we wish to bequeath to our children and grandchildren.

One decision will be made at the August 2 Rappahannock Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting; the other, at the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT) when it finalizes its long-range transportation plan for the Commonwealth.

The supervisors’ decision will or will not designate a stretch of the Hazel River as a “state Scenic River.” The only reason not to so designate this uniquely beautiful Rappahannock tributary would be in response to fear-mongering about potential loss of private property rights.

The VDOT plan will or will not include a $90 million budget to widen to six lanes U.S. 211 from Warrenton to the junction with Route 229 in Culpeper County. The only possible rationale for this road widening is to encourage development west of Warrenton.

A new book by Douglas Brinkley — “The Wilderness Warrior: Theodore Roosevelt and the Crusade for America” — reminds us that this Republican President a hundred years ago would have had no hesitation in making the right decisions.

“The ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ applies to the numbers within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction,” said Roosevelt.

“Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us to refrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of those unborn generations.”

Roosevelt’s future is now. So we owe him some thanks. But will future generations want to thank us?

Walter Nicklin

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