To the editor:
The United States, a country that boasts of many freedoms, is fettered by the chains of a most grievous addiction. To speak more plainly, America’s drug of choice is petroleum.
In a democracy originally intended to promote the common good, citizens’ pocketbooks shrink as we face ever-rising, unregulated gasoline prices. Meanwhile, special tax breaks and subsidies add even more billions to the coffers of oil barons while depleting our national treasury because of lost revenues.
Our addiction casts a dark shadow over foreign policy. Is our military presence in oil-producing countries, especially the Middle East, primarily to ensure the spread of democracy? If so, why does the U.S. have a history of making devilish pacts with authoritarian regimes in exchange for guaranteed access to their petroleum resources? For instance, the architects of the American Revolution would be appalled at our intimate arms-for-oil alliance with Saudi Arabia, a tyrannical monarchy known for suppressing human rights. Lastly, oil production and consumption are devastating our environment and changing climate for the worse.
“Cold turkey,” of course, is out of the question. Nevertheless, we must drastically reduce our dependence on oil. As individuals, for example, we can refuse to purchase Detroit’s gas guzzlers, support lawmakers who envision a government assisted rebuilding of public transportation, and finally, be aggressive in pursuing new, greener ways of living.