Wednesday, May 2, 2007
Who is responsible?
Sent: Wednesday, May 02, 2007 2:39 PM
Subject: Fwd: WWO 2
late May, 007
Third week of crazy high gas prices and people are starting to wonder just what's going on, and why. Assurrances come from the tv and radio--no need for alarm, they say. Apparently the President is readying a speech for next week, which will tell us how he's gonna take care of everything. Yeah, for his campaign donors. . .
Who's really responsible? I guess it's like in the film Who Killed the Electric Car?--there's a whole raft of perpetrators--and many are the usual suspects. Number One: Big Oil. But my trouble is, I can't even get that mad at them. After all, they're people, just playing by
the rules in place, trying to make the most of their privileged situation. As long as competitive corporate capitalism rules the roost, what the hell do we expect from them? They will play the game to their highest advantage. We should be happy that at least they're predictable in
their voracity. . .
Number Two: Auto Manufacturers. Here I can get angry and indignant. Building gas guzzlers is NOT to their advantage--what difference does it make to them what their cars run on, as long as they're selling cars? They're stymied by fear and inertia, period. Like the movie showed, Detroit has the know-how and the ability to make ultra fuel-efficient vehicles--they literally just don't want to. This is hard to comprehend, harder still to forgive. Honestly, how deep in
the sand do you have to bury your head to miss what's coming?
And they argue, oh, we're just giving people what they want. What sick, circular logic that is. Which industry spends more money on tv advertising than any other? Huh, I wonder why people want bigger size, higher performance, more muscle, when that's all we have crammed
down our throats? Imagine how many more transportation options there would be (and how much less damage we might have done to the atmosphere, how much time we might have bought for ourselves) if ANY American automakers had acted agressively, responsibly, even
rationally over the last 30 years! Sorry to rant, but if you think about it too much. . . it's easy to get furious.
Anyway, there are a couple more culprits, and they're linked together--like everything seems to be. Of course Government is to blame. Oil companies, for instance, won't change their behavior unless and until Government makes them. The rules have to change--regulations, incentives, taxes, all of it has to be geared toward conservation or else they'll just keep doing like they've been doing.
But it's so much more than that. Government has to set an example as well. Can you believe that, 27 years ago, Ronald Reagan ripped Jimmy Carter's solar panels off the White House?! How sincerely sick is that? Not that solar alone would've stopped this oil shock (though it
could've helped put it off a while longer), but it's the example of government going along with the illusion of limitless energy--perpetrating brash confidence over intelligence. What if,
instead, Governments (and I mean local and state/regional, not just national) switched all their vehicles over to biodiesel or hybrid fuel systems? Construction vehicles, bus fleets, police vehicles, politicans' limos--if our government set a good example, then people
will surely follow. . .
Which brings us to the ultimate culprit: us. We're complicit, compliant and complacent in so many ways. Not just in our consumption habits--which many of us are trying to change (more, suddenly, than before)--but even in our expectations. After all, we live in a Democracy, supposedly--isn't our Government supposed to be accountable to us? Don't we ultimately get the government we deserve, or at least accept? In many ways we're captives of our own low (and falling) expectations. But I've got to believe that if we expect better, and demand better, then we will get better--maybe faster than we thought possible.
But change is hard. We have to push our leaders, and if the ones we have won't make the changes we need, then we'll have to get new leaders, by whatever means. I don't think of myself as a revolutionary--I prefer evolution, it's less disruptive. But oil
shock is going to be disruptive too, and the only real difference between evolution and
revolution is velocity. Let's face it, the situation is dire, and we may have to make some big
changes fast--call it what you will. . .
Anyway, blame isn't that all that useful really, in the end. It's good to know how you made mistakes, so you don't make them again, and you have to hold misleaders accountable, but you still have to solve the problems they've caused. That's where we're at now, I guess. It's time to
look ahead to see what we can do, right away, to limit the damage and, if we can act in time, to make sure this won't ever happen again.
Peace and passion,