To the editor,

As a new convert to conservatism, I endorse Rep. John Kline's decision not to seek federal funds to replace the Hastings bridge. I don't mean to sound callous or indifferent. I spent 29 years commuting to Hastings. I often used the bridge.

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Yes, some might think Rep. Kline and I are thumbing our collective noses at them. After all, as a retiree, I no longer use the bridge on a daily basis. Likewise, Kline doesn't use it either in as much as he's living the high life in our nation's capitol. But that doesn't mean we're not concerned about the fate of those who do use it and risk their lives on a daily basis.

That said, keep in mind that unless you're a huge campaign contributor or the CEO of a major multi-national corporation, please don't come begging to the federal government for handouts. Take your lumps and move on. And please stop fantasizing about some ancient liberal like FDR coming along and starting a federal works program to rebuild America's infrastructure. Better you should recall Ronald Reagan's words, "The nine most dangerous words in the English language are: I'm from the government and I'm here to help."

Please repeat that phrase like a mantra and visualize Pres. George W. Bush in New Orleans while you're drowning and he's saying to his guy in charge, "You're doing a heck of a job, Brownie."

Okay, got the picture?

So at this point, Rep. Kline and I know that you're asking, "Yeh, but what do I do, Mr. Conservative, if the bridge falls down while I'm on it?"

Fair enough. I can't speak for Rep. Kline, but here are my solutions:

Drive as fast as you can across the bridge. That way, it's less likely you'll be on the bridge when it collapses.

Install one of those really cool ejector seats with an attached parachute in your vehicle like they have in jet fighters. The minute you find yourself in freefall, just hit the button, and you're home free. By the way, if you do install an ejector seat in your vehicle, make sure you've got a moon-roof too. Otherwise ... ouch!!!

As an aside, don't you think it would make good sense if the local bus company also installed ejector seats in their buses? Next time little Johnny acts up on the bus, the driver can hit the ejector button. Poof, little Johnny has just been launched into orbit. Trust me, that will have a calming effect and will act as a deterrent to other kids who might consider misbehaving. But I digress.

Buy a townhouse or condominium on the other side of the bridge. That way, you won't have to use the bridge so often.

Pack some snorkeling equipment in your vehicle. If you and the kids end up in the drink, have some fun. See how many different kinds of fish you can spot.

Purchase your very own personal helicopter.

OK, so maybe a personal helicopter isn't for you. How about taking swimming lessons?

How about carrying Coast Guard approved life vests in car?

Can't afford that? Toss a couple of old, inflated inner tubes into the back seat.

Try to be philosophical about it all. Into every life a little rain (and maybe a couple of bridges) must fall.

Listen up, all you liberals in River City. Whatever you do, quit looking to the government for answers. You're making us a nation of co-dependents.

By the way, you're doing a heck of a job, Rep. Kline.

Mike Kluznik,

Mendota Heights