I am not living in the US right now. I live in Japan, courtesy of the US military. So some of the headlines that I read from the US seem odd at times. I will be the first to admit I am often not entirely sure what is going on, I see mostly the news from the perspective of an outsider looking in and sometimes that is a very odd view. One thing that I remember very clearly was leaving Alaska in 2009 when the gas prices there had hovered above $4 for months. In summer of 2008, the US had hit an average of $4.11 a gallon, and there was a lot of talk about who was to blame. President Bush was in office then and I remember watching this (click on Link to Fox News video). “When you hear a politician say he or she will bring down oil prices, it is BS” -Bill O’Reilly That particular phrase stood out to me, because I saw that he was right. I had lived in China for four years, from 2003-2007 and could definitely see the wisdom in noting that the president (Bush) wasn’t responsible for the prices, but the international competition was a huge contributor.
I live in Japan right now. Off base, the price per gallon is over $7.00 – I have never seen it cheaper than that. China and India are adding more cars every day to their roads. I can personally attest to being stuck in Beijing traffic, and wondering how it was affecting the rest of the world. As more people in China and India rise to middle class and start driving, the competition increases and prices go up. Politicians can’t do anything about that.
It was a relief to come to Japan and be freed from the dependency on cars. The public transportation system here is the best I have seen anywhere and a lot of my friends get by perfectly fine without a car. I didn’t even have a bicycle the four years I spent in China, and could get anywhere around the city without one.But I also know that is a construct that America doesn’t really have. Perhaps we should.
What concerns me more though is the loss of civility in politics – Bush was not to blame then; Obama is not to blame now. It’s circumstantial. Can we get beyond the political rhetoric that plagues election seasons to do something about the problem? Something more constructive than getting someone elected, whatever party they may be? It seems there is a lot of finger pointing and not much action. I don’t know the solution. Whatever it maybe however, I don’t think pointing fingers at the latest guy in office is the answer.