Friday, April 28, 2006

Thanks--But No Thanks

Whoopee, Bush! A $100 check from the federal government to compensate for the pain at the gas pump! I imagine the vast majority of Americans will hardly be able to contain their joy at the prospect of this part of the Republican proposal to address the gas price crisis. Along with ANWAR drilling--despoiling a natural treasure for the sake of a pathetic few barrels of oil--hybrid incentives, and the promise of "investigations" of price gouging, this is what your Frist calls "a bold agenda." Well, bully for him.

Bold, indeed! Come on, Bush, you can prevail upon your Republicans to do better than this. Here's an unpopular view: aside from the vexing question of obscene oil company profits--Exxon Mobil added its $8.4 billion to the shameful list yesterday!--the problem is not that gas prices are too high, but rather that for decades they have been too low. The result has been to encourage the automobile industry to manufacture and market vehicles whose gas consumption has been unconscionably disproportionate to this country's share in the world's oil resources; and, along with ridiculously inappropriate tax breaks for SUV purchasers, to encourage American drivers to buy these selfsame products that they now rely on.

If your political friends were serious about addressing the issue of dwindling oil resources and escalating demand--and the increasing cost of gasoline that results from these twin problems--they might be looking for other than politically-popular solutions. I myself can think of a few, Bush. How about new, stringent, no-nonsense gas efficiency standards for all new motor vehicles? A windfall profit tax for the oil idustry? A gas tax (Tom Friedman of the New York Times has sensibly proposed this several times in his columns on the op-ed page) whose proceeds would be applied to research and devopment of alternative energy soures? And how about asking the American people to sacrifice just a bit by accepting a 55 mph speed limit, which would save a huge amount of gas and probably offset the cost of that per gallon tax I just proposed?

What I'm suggesting, Bush, is that you forget about looking good and winning votes. They can't matter more to you now than your reputation, surely, and your legacy. I'm suggesting that you require of the American people that they bear some burden, accept some sacrifice, as Jack Kennedy asked them all those years ago--and memorably inspired them with his words. Tell the truth for a change, Bush, for God's sake. Lose that silly smirk and the ridiculous macho swagger and level with us about the real and challenging problems that threaten not only our own little futures, but the future of generations yet to come, the future of the very planet on which we all must live.

Unless, of course, you're thinking that your Moon-to-Mars venture will provide us with a viable alternative. Or unless--all joking frightenly aside--you really believe that the end of the world is coming, along with all those Armageddon nuts. Tell me it isn't so.


David said...

I'll be very happy to have that $100 check. I'll thank him for it, and then donate it to the Democrats for the next election.

dennis said...

Good idea, David.

Watching Bill Maher last night, the good Representative from New Jersey restated the philosophy of the neocons, that these people think doing things through government is a bad idea and the best way to get things done is a free market. It became apparent that neocons are the newest incarnation in an endless cycle of supremacism.
Problems and changes cause fear, especially if they are rapid and difficult to understand changes. The supremacist is a weak mind whose instincts of survival dictate a strong reaction to the fear. A dual reaction, actually. One: he seizes on any idea at hand which may seem to combat the problem, that is, an idea around which to rally and mobilize. This leaves him open to the manipulation of the high priests of the idea. Two, he overcompensates his feelings of inadequacy to meet the perceive threat to his established beliefs and prejudicial emotions, the taking over of his territory, etc. Being of weak mind, his focus is fixed, mind set to his task, his "joiner" mentality welds him to his brotherhood, and he takes his place in coordinated group action - where he is willing to sacrifice himself, for the group, considering himself a soldier, a self-righteously pure soul in a mixed up world.
This also describes the terrorists, which means what we are witnessing is two groups of supremacists fighting each other, and anyone else who isn't with them.
Corruption ensues when nihilistic opportunists move in to grab what they can from the chaotic situation.

The big question is, how long will it take and at what additional cost for these two to burn out and succumb to reason. The answer is probably until one or both of them no longer feels threatened. If one annihilates the other, it only reinforces the concept of supremacism, ie; valor is victorious, in an endless cycle.