OPINION: Americans have plenty of power to evoke change

The soaring price of gasoline would make a Hummer actually cry. The reasons are due to whatever channel you are watching at the moment, with interpretations from research to a gentle rain falling somewhere on the vast ocean that has put a bit of ...

The soaring price of gasoline would make a Hummer actually cry. The reasons are due to whatever channel you are watching at the moment, with interpretations from research to a gentle rain falling somewhere on the vast ocean that has put a bit of the jitters into petroleum industry "investors."

The real cause is just plain old "greed." Until our nation realizes this and reacts, the price of fuel will continue to rise, and everyone will be reaching deeper into their pockets to find enough to get to work, drive the kids to school, or even, heavens no, a night out or a vacation week-end.

Are we truly at the mercy of the big oil companies, whose profits are in staggering numbers and whose CEOs grin sheepishly when asked why they can have profits in the double-digit billions for only the first quarter, but the average worker is losing his/her home, has no medical insurance, and food prices are so high that you could only hope to eat the box right along with the cereal? The answer is that we are only at their mercy if we let ourselves be. But wait, you may say, I am only one person, and whatever I do might not make or break such a corporate world. This could not be further from the truth. One person, multiplied by millions, will most assuredly make or break any corporation or company. Word of mouth campaigns have ruined greater entities than these, so our work is definitely cut out for us.

Travel and tourist promoters across the nation will howl when summer trends reveal more people are perfectly content to wheel around their home state or border areas. Spending weekends with family and friends, going to local fairs, and festivals, and walking, running will not only keep you in shape, but put a nice dent in the wallets of the majors.

When old cars are selling like hot cakes, and the gas-guzzlers sit and collect dust, when those who drive with multiple trailers behind, loaded with bikes, four-wheelers, boats and motor homes are made to feel a bit sorry for supplying gas executives with McMansions and the best of what life has to offer, then and only then will eyes pop open, and miracle of miracles, more oil will be found at a lesser cost.


Why do oil companies limit production during peak driving seasons, and do major repairs in the heat of vacation travel? Only one answer: to drive up the prices and pocket the profit. We should never be at anyone's mercy when it comes to taking care of our families and enjoying life a bit.

Middle class Americans have more power and punch then anyone is aware of. Within their hands is the power to inflict pain against such greed and exploitation.

But if you feel you are the only one doing anything and then pay the pump and just shake your head in worry and fear, then yes, it will continue. But if one and another and then another get together and car pool, or bike, or use trains, planes and buses, oh, I could just hear the moaning and groaning in the board rooms.

You will never find a corporate executive biting the bullet that he shoots at working America, but when their wives have to cut back on the shopping, and the gourmet meals with food shipped from all around the world get even too pricey for them, well, then middle America, we are on our way to civility.

Picnics, BBQs, fishing, dreaming and good old fashioned conversation at the back yard fence would eliminate a tank or two of gas, multiplied by the thousands and yes -- your voice will be heard.

Put pressure on your politicians, if you could pull them out of their personal jets and away from their cabanas on the beach of France, then do what you can. The White House and your representatives are not gods/goddesses with carved images and burning candles, but they are people with a job -- a very lucrative, sumptuous job, but still it is a job.

There are others waiting in the wings, and still others coming up to bat, and why not you? Did you ever wonder why Americans feel that only millionaires are capable of running the country -- as if their money made them so smart and gave them the experience of living in the trenches? No, money passed on through families for generations, and million-dollar salaries do not guarantee a leader with a brain in his head or a minute idea of how everyday life is lived. A recent newspaper article said that only the mega rich can run for political office in the U.S. This could not be further from the truth. Once again, this is so only if citizens allow it to happen and pretend that the mega-rich are so much smarter and better than someone whose ideas are brilliant and could lead our world into peace and friendship.

Stand up America or don't feel bad when you fall on your behind because the mega-rich have taken the chair right from under you, not to mention your food off your plate, your child's education out of his school and even your rights to be proud of being an American. Stand up or forever sit down in the murk of whatever is shoved off the tables of those who never feel the pinch of cutting back or doing without. We are a great nation for everyone, not just a select few with huge bank accounts and with even bigger egos. If you just sit back, you might as well lay down while you are at it, because that is all that will be allotted to you. Think about it, then do what you feel, really feel, when you look at your family, friends and neighborhood, and raise your voice and your pride. You'll feel better, you will do a world of good (literally) and you will sleep like a baby at night.


Arleen M. Kaptur of Solon Springs has written numerous articles for magazines and periodicals. She formerly conducted freelance legal research.

-- Copyright © Arleen M. Kaptur

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