Tuesday, April 22, 2008

stop the madness!!!

I read this today and it just left me shaking my head. What the hell is the world coming to when people actually have to make the decision between being able to eat or go to work?

Ten years ago, when I first started working full-time, gas was less than $2 a gallon - and I remember my mom complaining that it cost too much! Back then, $20 would more than fill my tank. I was able to get back and forth to work for a week on that.

But now it's getting to be twice that, and from what I'm reading, people in the position I was in when I left the U.S. really are in a quandry over whether they eat more than mac 'n cheese for a week or they actually get to go to work. I would think it would be easier for those people that live in big cities or close enough to them to be linked into their public transportation system.

This is one of the reasons that I'm glad we moved here. Comparatively, the public transportation system out here is freaking awesome. I haven't needed to drive since we've been here, so I haven't. I haven't sat behind the wheel of a car in five years. I can walk most places I need to get to (living within walking distance of the town centre helps a lot,though), and those places that are too far to walk to, I can take the bus to instead. Even when Blake and I went to York last year, we walked the 500 yards or so to the Metro station, took that into Newcastle, and took a Virgin train down to York. It was the same on the trip back, but obviously in reverse. I couldn't have taken a trip that far in the U.S. as easily and as cheaply as I did that one.

What America doesn't seem to understand (and never has, really), is that if she had a reliable public transportation system in every city, town, and village, it would all but eliminate the need for cars at all. I'm sure there are some people that would still drive everywhere, just because they could, but I'm just as sure that there are a lot of people out there that wouldn't bother, because they wouldn't need to.

"It's a mess here," Goldstone said. "People just are not shopping and everyone's trying to figure out a way to get people back in their cars."

That right there tells you just how wrong the mindset is. They shouldn't worry about getting people back in their cars - if they had the money, they probably would be. It's about fuel companies asking ridiculous amounts of money and the American infrastructure being such that being without a car in 90% of America is deliberately crippling yourself. Why don't we worry about the poverty crisis or the home mortgage crisis first? I'd be willing to bet that if America worried about things like that first, the gas crisis would solve itself.

Stop worrying that people aren't out shopping or going on trips. Worry about why they're not doing that. And fix the problem, not the symptom.

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