Friday, April 8, 2011

Gas Prices, Lybia and Civic Responsibility

So I was talking to my mom on the phone yesterday, which is always an interesting experience. The last time she called me she told me my 17 year old cousin was in the ER because he had a heart attack. Turns out he had inflamed cartilage in his chest wall which acts like a heart attack. Anyway, so she asked after me, then the cats, then Kitten and Oscelot. (Its always in that order too, I swear)And then she started telling me how she was thinking about moving to the city where she work, which is about a half hour/ forty five minutes away. Her reason for wanting to move, was of course, gas prices.

She follows up her reference to how much she spends in gas a day ($30, which I highly doubt) with a comment about how she doesn't plan on re-electing President Obama because it is all his fault our economy is a wreck and gas prices are high.

Now, I think we all know that this is a patently untrue statement. It takes several years, sometimes even decades, to get an economy like ours into a recession like the one we're in. I don't blame anyone, because as much as I would like to blame former Presidents, or whatever, the truth is it takes more than one or 250 people to get us into this kind of mess. When we aren't responsible fiscally, or civically, things like this happen. Runaway spending is a fault that belongs to all Americans who were aking unneccesary risk during the last ten years.

I try to explain this to her, and she says she blames him because he is the one who makes the laws. I point out, no, he only signs the bills into law. Technically, if she wants someone to be angry at, she should be calling her senators and congress people. That's the way to make change, is to talk to them.

She tells me no, he is the one that started the war in Lybia and drug us into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Again, I try to explain to her that no, rebels started the war in Lybia. Technically, its a revolution, and we aren't involved in a war with them, we only participated (at the beginning) in the NATO strikes to try and protect the civilians in that country from the dictator who runs it.

Also, President Bush was the one that started the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and we have a responsibility to finsih those and leave cleanly the way any responsible nation would.

My mom's comment to this?

"Well, I don't care if those people hace to live with a dictator. It's sriving up the price of gas. We can't be responsible for the whole world you know."

This, to me, is one of the most irresponsible statements I have ever heard come out of my mother's mouth, and that's saying something. I could have told her no, we actually could. I could have told her that our country stands for that very thing: freedom at all costs. I could have told her that we expected the free world to get involved after September 11, 2001. We have a responsibility to the free world as well. I could have even pointed out that most of our oil actually comes from Canada, not the Middle East.

But I knew I would be wasting my breath.

What makes me really sad is that most people in the US probably feel the same way my mother does.

What happened to civic responsibilty and the emergence of a world community? What happened to having allies and supporting human rights?

It makes me really, really, sad.

Do your part, friends. If you do want to effect change, get ahold of your representatives, that's what they are there for.



  1. LOL! And I woke up today thinking . . hmm has the government shut down yet?

  2. I know it's not the main thrust of your argument, but if your mum thinks she has it bad, we pay around $8.29 per gallon - more than double what you pay (if I can trust wikipedia!). No wonder we drive cars with smaller, more fuel efficient engines.

    Speaking of our military entanglements, isn't it funny how we got stuck right into Libya but haven't exactly rushed into the other countries in turmoil. Nothing to do with oil. No siree. Nothing at all. It also makes me sick to the core that we're now busy self-righteously ridding the world of dictators we have spent much of the last few decades putting into power in the first place, armed them and then spent years keeping them there. These revolutions in the middle east are being gloriously received, but how will we react if Eygpt --say-- democratically elect a government that we don't like? What then?


    Time for bed.

  3. Trisha- I was glad to wake up and hear there wasn't going to be a government shut down, although I shudder to think what its going to be like when October rolls around and its time to do the fiscal year 2012 budget.

    Swiss- there's no doubt in my mind we have it easy. It frightens me to think how inefficient and selfish we can be when it comes to gas and driving gas hog vehicles.

    I am also completely with you about the way we set ourselves up for tehse troubles. I mean, I'd like to say Lybia doesn't have everything to do with oil because they don't produce that much in the cosmic scheme of things, and that the reason we stepped in here is because the goverment was harming citizens to try and get the rebels to surrender, but I think that smoke screen is easily seen through.

    On the other hand, isn't self-righteous part of teh American brand name now?