I got to rambling on one of the BMT forums tonite - and it occurred to me that forum probably was not the place to ramble.
I'm not a very active political rabble-rouser, but day by day I am becoming more concerned and more confused with where we are going as a country.
Every single person in this country has to be committed to some small change in thinking. It's not even very drastic.
Our total dependency on foreign oil, regardless of the price, is completely fixable. We have to reduce our oil consumption by about 50%.
Some ideas: Think about your driving habits. Could you take more than one person to the same place? Could you combine the errands into one trip?
Could the kids ride bicycles to school activities? etc, etc. It would be hard to believe that every person couldn't make some real savings without adversely affecting their lives. You have to come to grips with the fact that this is your problem. Blaming someone else does not make it go away. But working together makes the problem go away quite easily.
Alternate fuels have a real future, particularly as fuel prices rise. Research and development costs become more feasable.
Bio-diesel has some promise, as does ethanol. Both are good for the American farmer, too. Hydrogen has shown some real progress. The GM hydrogen vehicle research center is local to me, so I watch and read the local news on their progress.
Just as important as the oil situation is the rampant buying of cheap Chinese junk. And it is almost all just cheap junk. Certainly not necessary to our everyday life. Yet we can't seem to get enough of it!
Indeed, as a society, we seem caught up with buying the cheapest stuff we can find. I see it every day in our business. Hard to believe the things that people will do to achieve the "look of success" and cut all the important corners for a well built home. Their normal response to my question is "we are only going to be here for five years or less." I cannot get my arms around that attitude.
Short story: I like to buy Filson outer wear. It's made in the USA, and very heavy duty. It's expensive, no question. Several years ago I had my first Filson work jacket. I'm hard on jackets and pants - real hard. Anyway after about two years the sleeves and bottom of the jacket began to fray and show wear.
That wasn't right, so I took it back to the little store where I got it. Walk-in and surprise - the owner knows my name! Try that at WalMart. I explain the problem, he gets on the phone while I'm standing there, has a short conversation with Filson and hangs up the phone. He walks over to his rack, selects a new jacket just like mine and hands it to me. He says "Filson wants you to have this, no charge. Your jacket should not be showing wear yet, no matter how rough you are." Now - I challenge you - TRY THAT AT WALMART. Yes this is a $150.00 work jacket, but I only need one, and it will last longer than three cheap ones. In fact that replacement coat is now five years old, and going strong. Did I pay too much. I think not. And Americans worked to make the coat.
Meanwhile we are concerned with the massive influx of Mexican and Central American illegal immigrants. Face it - why shouldn't they come here? We don't want to do the work that they do ourselves - we might get our lily white hands dirty. Or worse - we might not make a huge wage doing those menial jobs.
And God forbid that perhaps someone collecting welfare might have a job opportunity. It's just easier to stay home on the couch.
So we give the immigrants benefits, take in their children as citizens and make it easier and easier for those people to simply ignore the system. That's not right, and we have only ourselves to blame. Let's look at the system and figure out why these people choose to ignore it.
Let's not forget, many of our own families all came from elsewhere to work here for a better life. The only thing different is that they did not ignore the rules. In fact they were proud to follow the rules. Seems like this is a fixable problem, without having to build a fence on a river!
If we can all make an effort and a commitment to a change in our thinking, we can rebuild our country to greatness, and we can live very happy and free lives. If, however, we continue to simply blame others for our troubles, we will continue to get weaker and weaker.
We will probably suffer through a recession over the next couple of years. I'm no economist and I don't really know what that means, but it doesn't have a real nice ring to it.
The solution is with every one of us as a united country.
How's that for rambling?
Paul Van Scott