Heartfelt support of our military personnel and flag-waving, though sincere, don’t help our troops and don’t help our country. If we Americans truly wanted to do something patriotic, we should have long ago weaned ourselves from oil, at least in the form of absurdly large, gas-guzzling vehicles.
Columnist Thomas Friedman has been writing about this for decades, and many of us realized this in the 1970s when the first artificial (read “fabricated”) gas shortage occurred.
Our selfish ways pay for international terrorism. They pollute the planet. They are childish.
Americans only effect change when something hits us in the wallet. We should be paying a dollar per gallon federal tax on gasoline, which would not only force a change in behavior but would go a long way towards reducing our national deficit. Yes, it would be painful temporarily, but it could be phased in. We were paying much higher prices at the pump last year, yet somehow we managed.
If not for oil and its complex geopolitical web, would we be willing to send our military into places with those regimes and backward cultures? Somehow, it’s OK to send our troops to be killed and maimed, to devastate their families, to keep funding terrorism, to irreparably soil the Earth in order for us to keep driving the kinds of cars we prefer.
It’s all about the oil. Always has been.
How patriotic is that?