I'm someone who still has not made a decision as to who they are going to be voting for in the Presidential election. Once in a while I hear the crap from the pundits and social commentary in which they ask, "How can you not have made a decision yet?" Well, it's easy actually. This country constantly has new problems popping up. The housing market is getting slammed and people still don't know when it's likely to get better, people are trying to figure out how to help people who may lose their home (more of a bail out for many), we've been bitching and moaning about Iraq (justifiably in my mind) while Afghanistan has slowly been getting worse again, oil prices have gone haywire and along with that has gone the cost of many items across the spectrum, and lets not forget that due to the decreased gas use we as citizens have decided to implement on our own (yay!) we're actually messing up the government's ability to fund and fix our roadways and such (oops...on the government). I gotta tell you, if you were ever in favor of a gas tax break I really have to ask, DO YOU UNDERSTAND THAT PIDDLY BAND-AIDS (should I say "adhesive bandge"?) DON'T FIX JACK!?!?! Ooh, a segue.
So, the candidates have been discussing energy lately. It is important as we...well...need it. The big question has been do we start more offshore drilling, dig up areas of ANWR, pull oil out of our reserves or what? McCain is ready to start the offshore drilling. Screw the fact that the oil companies aren't even exploring or using all the areas that are already accessible to them. I mean, if we give them more now I'm SURE it's all going to work out to their benefit...uh...I mean OUR benefit. Idiocy. I read Glenn Beck's "thoughts" on the matter a while back
. Apparently Mr. Beck is privy to information that the rest of us don't have, which is namely that the oil companies, if given more areas to drill, will keep all that wonderful oil in the states. Bullshit. There is nothing that I know of that will force those companies to keep oil in our area IN OUR AREA. Sorry, but I firmly believe that if such restrictions were in place they wouldn't be claiming they need more places to drill as success in finding oil would mean one thing...a decrease in their profits. Are you getting this yet people? You REALLY believe that a company is going to request access to areas to look for their "product" so that they can find so much that they can increase the availability on the market and drive down their profits? I hate to think people are that stupid.
Let me tell you how I see it playing out in such a scenario. Please keep in mind that I have no concept of global market schemes, how all that stuff interacts or how oil companies "really" work. All I have is my imagination and what I consider to be "general" knowledge. Here is my theory: If the oil companies get more area they will not use all of what they have (they have shown they already don't), there will be fights regarding how any new oil will reach the mainland and that hasn't even been talked about ("not in my backyard"), and if a whole lot of oil is found and we can reduce our prices and foreign dependency we will become SOMEONE ELSE'S foreign supplier and while some of the money may make it into government coffers through taxes and such the majority is going to go into the pockets of the oil companies (as it should since it's their business and we have a capitalist system). So, we bring down our prices and do what with investigating alternative energy sources? If history dictates anything we (the general community) will not have the concern we have now. We will leave those investigations to the same people who ran them before and it will be a clash between the inventive go-getters who want to help others and the sloth-like energy companies that already are making money on resources they have yet to deplete. That's gonna get us nowhere as the ones who have the inspiration don't tend to have the money and those with the money won't push (or reveal it) until their current cash-cow is running out. Maybe I'm a bit distrusting...but that's me. This problem was seen loooooong ago. The companies didn't address it, the government didn't address it, and more importantly we citizens didn't take it seriously enough to demand it be addressed. So, what do we have to do now? Use band-aids.
The thing is that we have a very limited number of band-aids that we (the general public) have access to. We can't all install solar panels on our roofs or make our houses super-energy efficient on short notice. That requires time and money (guess which one we seem to be lacking lately). So, what can we do? We can try some of the tips that AAA has been offering for years. Hell, I found an article from 2005 online that goes through these tips right. Read it
. Or at least check out item 7 on tire pressure. Remember, this is an article from 2005. This is something that we can do as individuals to affect our personal gas costs and save us a significant percentage of wasted fuel economy. So, why is it that when a presidential candidate (Obama) bring up this point that has been suggested for years he is ridiculed?
We have recently shown that we general citizens do have an affect on our oil consumption. It is estimated that US drivers drove 10 billion fewer miles
this year than last year. That's great. Plus, in doing so we revealed that the US transportation system is broken seeing as how they're losing money and now have to figure out how they're gonna keep our roads up with less finances. Oh, a quick break...
Now, please notice this folks when you read the article above. The transportation system is messed up because by being "smart" drivers we're taking money away from the coffers that keep the roads maintained (among other things). So, are they gonna manager the money they do have better? Probably, but the big thing is that how they get their money is going to be shifted so our current habits don't hurt them. They're still gonna get their taxes, they're just gonna find a different way. SO, if we engage in a behavior that takes away money from the government they will shift their taxation to an area we are less likely to avoid. We WILL pay our taxes. I haven't heard of any elected official getting pissed about this. BUT...BUT...we even TALK about taking away tax breaks from oil companies and we've got elected officials crawling out of the woodwork to defend THEM. Seriously folks, how frakked up is that? Guess where you rank. No, don't...it will probably just make you sad. Back to where I was...
We have shown we can use our small little band-aids to make a change and make a difference in how we use gas and how "effectively" we use gas. Obama points out something that has been established/supported which many of us have heard but not listened to, and he is ridiculed by McCain
and Republican's in the House
(who again seem ALL for helping oil companies). I gotta say...WTF?
I used to like McCain, a LOT. I liked a lot about what he had to say, I thought he had his head on straight and I liked the "maverick" persona he had. Now, all I hear is how different he is from the current president but am continually assaulted by an apparent intelligence that mirrors our current president and questionable political tactics that make me think of Karl Rove. Obama is far from perfect, but I gotta say that if this is how McCain and the Republican's are gonna act...thank you. Thank you for helping me figure out who I'm probably voting for for president. I'm still not locked, but these guys are so damn helpful I cannot turn a blind eye to what they're offering me to see. What they're offering in my mind is dismissal of me as a person and treatment like I'm an idiot who cannot be trusted to make my own choices on how to affect the oil/gas problem in my own way. I feel so loved.