Thomas McKenzie
by grace alone
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In Line for Gas


I am presently in a long line, waiting for the pleasure of buyng $4.25 a gallon gas. People are nervous, irritable, and probably feeling more than a little vulnerable. It is a strange experience to sit here for such a long time, hoping to get my turn before the gas runs out.

I have one overwhelming thought about my experience: This is good for America.

For decades, Americans have wallowed in cheap gas, easy credit, and a sense of utter invulnerability. But now we are getting a small taste of the way people all over the world live every day.

For the first time in my memory we are beginning to actually pay what gas is actually worth. (Well, it's probably worth $6 a gallon, but we're on our way). This is a non-renewable, dangerous, and rare substance which is largely controlled by some of the most morally deficient people on earth. It is destroying our environment and propping up governments that want us dead. And, in spite of all the warnings and all the pressures, we have continually acted as if cheap gas is our right.

American car companies have not invested in non-gasoline cars until very recently. Our government has not used its power of taxation to force gas conservation. And our people have foolishly bought monters like Hummers and other giant SUVs and huge-engine cars. We have happily sucked up 25% of the world's power with 6% of the world's population.

At this point, we are just beginning to get what we deserve.

Now this sucks for me, too. I don't own an electric car, or even a smug hybrid. I buy food from around the world. I order products that have to be delivered by UPS. My cars may have 4 cylinders, but I pollute and destroy along with the rest of U.S.

My hope is that this crisis will wake us up a bit. And, yes I realize that I'm in this line mainly because of hurricane Ike and not your Escalade (though Ike may well have been fed by our pollution-caused global warming). But maybe, just maybe, more of us will ask this question tonight: why is it I have to buy gasoline at all?

It was George Bush who said that we are addicted to oil. Isn't it time we took the First Step and admitted that we are out of control and our lives have become unmanageable?

40 minutes in line. People are yelling at each other and honking. And there are still at least 7 people ahead of me for this one pump alone. (Update: it ultimately took 100 minutes to get the gas, and I had to help confront two different drivers who decided to cut in line).

This is good for America.




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