Why Are We Paying to Kill Us?

When it comes to gasoline America is, for the most part, like a serial drunk driver. We rail against the effects of the drink, but still go to the bar and guzzle the stuff.
This post was published on the now-closed HuffPost Contributor platform. Contributors control their own work and posted freely to our site. If you need to flag this entry as abusive, send us an email.

This whole BP leak -- watching the oily mess wash up on our shores, while also watching the equally oily petroleum company execs use their slick Washington influence to once again slip responsibility and regulations -- brings something else up.

We all know that much of America's policy -- foreign and domestic -- is dictated by oil executives. We protest in the streets about it, make passionate movies about it, write fiery, anonymous blogs about it. From Earth Firsters to Tea Baggers, most Americans hate the power the petro-oligarchs have over our national agenda. But when it comes to gas America is, for the most part, like a serial drunk driver. Rail against the effects of the drink, but still go to the bar and guzzle the stuff. And after each inevitable resulting accident we blame the barkeep, dutifully promise to cut back in the future, and then, eventually, go back to the bar.

The trick is to stop drinking. And if we want to dis-empower our oil overlords the first thing we have to do is drop the nozzle. I don't mean to sound extreme, but when we talk about drug violence coming into this country we talk about stopping demand for the drugs. When we talk about lessening the power of Big Banks we talk about "Moving Your Money." So when we talk about the oil lobby we have to talk about making a commitment to lessening our dependence on their stinkin' product, and to stop giving them the money with which they control our country.

Three months ago my wife and I bit the bullet and sold our car. We'd always told our son that, despite the hype, there is no such thing as an environmentally friendly gasoline powered automobile. All cars, at some level, poisoned the environment we told him, and having one became such a glaring hypocrisy that we decided to try to live without our own mobile poisonspewer. Bus, bike, walk, and only when we absolutely have to, CityCarshare. Trust me, we're not young, rich Liberals, and this isn't some elitist choice. We're working people with a little kid. But I moved my money to a credit union and we dumped our car because the only reason not to was simply ... convenience. What a weenie reason to forsake your principles! And I refuse to believe that we, as Americans, have become so addicted to TV, Facebook, internet porn, or even HuffPo that we cannot take a bit of that leisure time to walk to the store, bike to a more distant bank or bus to the ballgame.

And I am not being "Holier than Thou." I'm just a sloppy guy letting you know how I'm trying to lessen my mess, and slow the flow of my cash to people who are happily risking the destruction of the only habitat we have because there's a profit in doing so.

And it's not about doing everything. "Hey, you're still using a computer, which uses electricity, and where do you think that comes from?" The requirement of doing everything is setting bar much too high, and gives us all an excuse to do nothing. I believe doing what you can in a good cause is always better than just watching things get worse. What it comes down to is every dollar I spend on their crap or invest in their banks comes back as a bullet aimed at us and our son's future. I want these corporate misery peddlers destroyed, and if walking to work gets me a little closer to joyfully dancing on their graves -- in a cleaner, fairer future -- it's a small price to pay.

Go To Homepage

Popular in the Community