We can’t complain about the gas prices, but should we?

Earlier this week I spoke of impeachment as no longer off my table. My table doesn’t count for much, but I do have one, and it’s becoming more crowded.

I also spoke of a constitutional crisis and offered the suggestion that we were already immersed in one. Since then we have seen our democratic principles shattered in Wisconsin where the last vestiges of a Republican state senate have stripped the new, fairly-won Democratic leadership of most of its authority. The lame-duck Republicans have also worked to gainsay specific decisions by the voters regarding health insurance, thereby directly denying the legitimate vote of the citizenry. In a democratic society, how’s that for a Constitutional Crisis? 

Michigan seems headed down a similar path, and North Carolina may be facing the aftermath of an election so tainted as to be completely illegitimate.

(This holiday season, come to the Carolinas—and vote again!)

In the midst of all this, we continue down several other bad roads. Yesterday we read of a new environmental report comparing the accelerating growth of carbon dioxide emissions to “a speeding freight train.” And it isn’t just our favorite whipping boy coal: oil demand and usage have risen dramatically, the demand for larger cars, SUVs, and pick-ups has mushroomed, and our general response has been, “hey, how about those great gas prices—field trip!” Even TV advertising has underscored the old concept of seeing the USA by automobile.

We can be better than this—more aware, more far-sighted. No offense to owners of larger vehicles—my cars have grown larger as I’ve grown older—but I’d rather we do what 20th-century man was learning to do:  complain about high gas prices and use less. Twenty-first-century man seems to be falling backwards towards a 1950’s mentality underscored in that old black-and-white commercial. (Maybe for some that’s making America great again.) And while I don’t want to see angry mobs defacing public monuments as has recently occurred in France due to six-dollar-a-gallon gas prices, we can’t keep paying a mere $2.50 a gallon and hope that restraint will just happen, not when drilling in the Alaskan wilderness looms.

And we certainly cannot rely on an administration beholden to “big oil” to champion conservation. Some responsibilities are ours.

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