When You Ride Alone, You Ride With The Evil Dictator Of Your Choice.

So I’m on drudgereport tonight and yes, I read Drudge because he really does get quite a bit of news first even if he is a Republican sensationalist, and the following quote from Senator Obama was highlighted in red:

“We can’t drive our SUVs and eat as much as we want and keep our homes on 72 degrees at all times … and then just expect that other countries are going to say OK.”

And this being Drudge, it’s apparent that this was highlighted in a way to disapprove of the Senator’s comments through red lettering. And I imagine that if the press catch onto that, it’ll be run through the morning talk shows and Fox News will have a field day and everyone will have an opinion but it’ll bottom out to this. Conservatives and idiots will express the sentiment the United States has had since 9/11: “go about your normal life” and “business as usual” which is the modern day equivalent of Warren G. Harding’s “return to normalcy.”

But worse than “normalcy” is the idea of going about our daily lives as if nothing is wrong. It’s damaging our country not only domestically but, as Senator Obama pointed out, also how we are viewed by the world.

After 9/11 President Bush ordered Wall Street and other places of commerce to open for business before the air could be tested to see if it was safe. The sentiment at the time was that terrorists would not stop the United States from conducting business as usual. It was a statement to the world.

And of course it was determined later that the air around Wall Street had carcinogens that did not clear until well after Bush announced the return to work which led to health problems for workers.

But hey, our arrogance definitely made a statement. America would rather charge in foolishly than pause for reality.

And our ‘business as usual’ attitude bleeds into the areas that Senator Obama touched upon. I’ve seen at least four new Hummers in my neighborhood recently, regardless that gas now costs almost four dollars a gallon.

“Hey, an impending gas shortage and faltering economy aren’t going to stop me from driving around a tank in a suburban neighborhood.” God forbid.

President Bush has made it a point to tell Americans that they would not be inconvenienced during this time of uncertainty and war, basically since 9/11. And Americans feel comforted by that. No need to change our daily lives. Business as usual.

However, America didn’t used to work that way. During World War II, EVERYTHING was rationed for the war effort. Consumer products took a back seat to help produce more items needed for the war. The average citizen was asked to sacrifice for the common good. Not only rationing but saving gas meant more gas could be used for, again, the war effort.

President Roosevelt called on citizens to recycle rubber and tin. The President asked people to inconvenience themselves! Gasp.

Proganganda, was of course, used and I’m not saying all of this would be useful now. My favorite is “When You Ride Alone, You Ride With Hitler,” which is supposed to encourage car pooling. I personally loved Bill Maher’s “When You Ride Alone, You Ride With Bin Laden.”

However, it’s the attitude of America that needs to change even more than the actions. To act like Obama’s comments are incendiary when they’re actually realistic and responsible is appalling.

America does need to stop being over indulgant and wasteful. American needs a president who is a strong enough leader to encourage the people to act responsibly. A President needs to be strong enough to tell people that even though they can, they really shouldn’t keep the house like an ice box all summer long, buy that new SUV and use baby seal eyes for hubcaps.

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~ by atypicalsnowman on May 19, 2008.

5 Responses to “When You Ride Alone, You Ride With The Evil Dictator Of Your Choice.”

  1. Nicely written Kristen. I’ve been saying as much for years. I wash and reuse plastic spoons/forks at work, and the typical question is “Why? Cant you afford a new one?” When I explain this is not the point I am greeted with befuddlement. We can afford it therefore it is our right, eh. Never mind the planet cannot afford 100,000 plastic spoons a day into the landfill, or the fact its just plain lazy and wasteful.

    As a transplanted Brit I’ve always noticed Americans are greedy, wasteful and lazy when it comes to consumerism. Even on the internet, I cant tell you how many times I have arguments with other videobloggers for needlessly uploading high def video of their work, when their work is ultimately not that important or interesting that it requires 4000k bandwidth. “Its not my bandwidth” they tell me. No, maybe not, but SOMEBODY is paying for it. That energy has to come from somewhere.

    I think as a nation that went through rationing and wartime England is much more conscious of these issues. The US conversely has not had to suffer as hard that type of short supply (I’m guessing I could be totally wrong I did not live in wartime US). Everything is always there for anyone who can afford it. Whilst I never suffered wartime (fortunately), both my parents were evacuated during WW2 and felt the hardships of rationing. We lived VERY frugally when I was growing up. i think that has a LOT to do with how I treat waste and consuming energy or such these days.

    Even with todays ‘wartime status’ there is no discernible ‘war effort’ like in WW2. Because its a phoney war for political reasons and the corporations would never tolerate serious economic losses. As we fall into recession, how many CEOs are having to slum it. I’d guess very few. Tons of money is still being made, just not by us.

    Thanks, nice article. Like the choice of image. And really like the new design of your blog.

  2. Thanks for a really great comment, Adam. And yes, I agree with you on your opinions of Americans but I think it may come from somewhere else. We didn’t suffer the way Europeans did so recently but there was a feeling of taking one for the team or conserving for the good of others.

    I think that the current adminstration has as lot of answer for in regard to the current mood our country seems to be in.

    A president is a leader of men and when we have great presidents, greatness seems to mold the people. Look at Kennedy and the peace corp. I think if you want the people to adopt a certain mindset, you have to set an example.

    But our current President is so far from that; he’s not even acknowledging that there’s anything wrong and in fact is encouraging this wasteful lifestyle.

    I think that sense of entitlement has definitely gone out among the people and I hope that a Democratic president like Barack Obama can lead the people to a better lifestyle.

    I think Americans would let a man like that lead them to greatness. If things change from the top maybe that would lead to some change.

    Thanks again for the comment. You stimulate me.

  3. you make some great points here. it is easy for us Euro snobs 🙂 to make the standard argument the French made prior to Operation Liberate Iraq. But I must remember that it comes across as holier than thou. Not really meant to be. Just that the social menatality in UK is so much more humble for some reason. My fave comedy ‘Withnail & I’ has a line “shat on by Tories, betrayed by Labour” which probably sums up why Brits are so pessimistic, and thusly more introverted and frugal. Conversely, Americans to me seem much more confident and spend-happy. Is this a social by-product of comfort and security. Or something else?

    Anyhow, absolutely you are correct that leadership should set an example. From the smallest business up to Highest Govt. We have come to accept such mediocrity in all walks of life that it is not even questioned any more. At least thats how it seems. Another great movie ‘Network’ has a great scene with the lead ranting about TV dumbing society down (and this was in the 70’s – spooky) He’s yelling “you’ve gotta get mad, mad as hell, and say I’m not going to take it anymore…” And that is really it. Hopefully this administration has gone so far people will get mad and not take their crap anymore. Hopefully Obama will set a new standard for integrity and high standard of leadership (no offense to Hilary, but the Clintons have enough dirty water under their bridge to fall into the mediocre category). Hopefully, getting back to your original statement, higher standards of leadership will raise the social awareness and standards too. One can hope, eh.

    My biggest fear is that unless any leader takes on, with serious determination, the corporations and organisations like Bilderberg, he/she will be handcuffed and it will be business as usual. But I’m just a pessimistic Brit, so lets hope I’m wrong 🙂

    Cheers, good debate. Glad to be, erm, stimulating. 🙂

  4. I absolutely love Network. It’s wonderful and awful to watch as they take something honest and package it and market it. I love at the end when William Holden is leaving Faye Dunaway and she finally breaks and asks him not to. But I mean, she really is a heartless bitch. She is the system. And on a side note, Holden’s wife little two minute break down scene, is the best two minutes of that movie.

    Yes, I honestly don’t have a problem with the Clintons but they are old school politicians. And I mean that in a bad way. I share your fear that no matter how good a leader’s intentions, business will ultimately have a bigger stand on things.

    And haha, I didn’t mean ‘stimulating’ like that. Silly.

  5. Somehow i missed the point. Probably lost in translation 🙂 Anyway … nice blog to visit.

    cheers, Archetype!!!

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