Not exempt

A recent quote in the Herald-Leader really set me off.  In an article about recent high gas prices, one woman was quoted as saying “as Americans, we shouldn’t have to go through this.”

WHAT?!?!  Exactly, pray tell, why not??

Ignorant comments like this really ought not be published.  By living in the United States, are we somehow sheltered in an economic bubble that doesn’t ride the wave of global economics?   Is America exempt from the laws of supply and demand (or in this case, more accurately, foreign price controls), is America simply entitled to cheaper oil simply because of our stubborn reliance on gas-guzzling vehicles?  Or even more appalling, because of our status as Americans?

America’s wealth has afforded us a lifestyle that most of the world would see as lavish.  I see this as a privilege, not a right.  Sadly, many people have become so accustomed to the “lifestyle protection” that our status as Americans  has offered, that as the bottom drops out of the dollar we feel that some great injustice has been  done.  We’ve become fat, lazy, and incapable of managing our own lives.

We’re simply entitled to better because, dammit, we’re Americans.  It doesn’t matter that just a few hundred miles off our southern coast, entire nations exist whose populations live off of less than a buck a day.  Every nation falls into economic hardship at some point or another.  When those economies fall, they don’t eat.  When ours falls, we trade the Suburban for a Honda.

Folks, as Americans we’re not exempt from economic woe.  Yet rather than complain about the cost of gassing up our cars, shouldn’t we be grateful for the fact that we can put food on the table for our families?

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