Wednesday, April 20, 2011

The first quarter of 2011 is already in the books! I can’t believe how quickly the time has passed this year.

We here in Canada are immersed—well, as immersed as we ever get—in a federal political campaign, with Election Day less than two weeks off. We have to listen to the rhetoric and the whining and the mudslinging for just a few more days, so really, that’s not a big deal.

Mother Nature is showing her true nature by pelting us with unseasonably cold weather, blizzards, freezing rain, and whatever else she holds in her mixed bag—but not tornadoes, so really, that’s not a big deal either. Sure, we’re inconvenienced, and we’re disgruntled, but for the most part we’re safe, and we’ll get over it.

People everywhere continue to struggle to make ends meet, and here, I feel less optimistic. Do you know what depresses me the most about the gasoline prices? It isn’t that they’re high, although they are and it’s a pain in the butt having to pay so much. Where I am it’s about 1.34 per litre, which is the equivalent of about $5.20 U. S. a gallon. What depresses me is the fact that the people in charge of the big oil companies think we’re all too stupid to realize they’re just being greedy. They say these prices reflect the volatile nature of the price of oil, and blah, blah, blah, and then in the next breath they let it slip that, hey, what do you know, they had record-breaking profits!

I really dislike being played for stupid. Almost as much as I dislike the feeling that there’s really nothing we can do about those high prices.

In my opinion, this is the worst possible time for expenses to spike. Grocery prices are beginning to go up too, a direct result of the hike in the cost of gas. People are trying to recover from the horrendous economic implosion of just a couple of years ago. Some people have managed to get jobs, but in many cases they are jobs that pay far less than the ones they had previously.

How are people supposed to manage to pay for everything now?

To me it seems the reality is that the people who run our governments and the people who run our conglomerates simply don’t seem to care about ordinary folk.

More and more I feel as if our society is evolving into a two-horned beast. One horn is made up of the wealthiest, the uber-rich who live a lifestyle you and I simply can’t even imagine. The other horn is made up of most of the rest of us, because the affluent middle class is sinking slowly out of sight. The gap between the rich and the poor is widening, and this isn’t good, because one thing you can count on is that the poor, kept poor long enough, will become the oppressed.

History teaches us that every time human beings are oppressed they do eventually revolt. It amazes me that the oppressors haven’t figured that one out yet. Rather short sighted of them, don’t you think?

Or maybe they have figured it out, and think they can cheat history. Maybe they think they can keep us frightened and powerless, hopeless and penniless, clinging to the fading image of how things used to be. Maybe, they think we can be convinced that if we just give up some of our freedoms, and our expectations, that we will all be happier, and better off, in the long run.

I want to say that I have faith in my fellow man not to buy what they’re selling. But the ones doing the selling are so darned talented in the smoke and mirrors department, that I’m genuinely concerned.

It’s just a good thing that I believe in miracles. I think we need one, and badly.


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