In 2001 when I got my license, I distinctly remember pulling my used white 1998 Dodge Neon into the gas station and pumping my tank full of 99 cent per gallon gas for a grand total of 11 dollars. When I was a senior in high school, and I wanted to skip class, I remember having 25 bucks which would get me from Sussex County, Delaware to Philadelphia, Pennsylvannia with enough money left over for a dozen Krispy Kreme donuts, lunch, AND a pack of cigarettes!
When I turned 16 and got my license, my Mom was overjoyed because I LOVED to drive. I mean, I LOVED it. I began taking over the responsibility of grocery shopping. I would get a list of items, about $100 cash, and I had to shop for our family of three and make it last for one week. I was pretty good at it--getting crafty and using my calculator (which has stuck with me to this day) and my little brother loved it because I could usually budget to get him some zebra cakes and myself some perogies.
Today, it is 2008. I am almost 23 years old. My car is a low emissions vechile which gets 25 mpg, and it costs me $45 to fill my tank with gas. I live with my partner and when the two of us go shopping we spend at least $100 per week--and I don't always get perogies. A year or two ago we got those reusable bags, which we use every week. We own 6 of them; yesterday we only able to fill 4 1/2 of them with food on our budget.
Now, don't get me wrong. We are very grateful for our lives. We love our lives, to be exact. But money IS getting tighter and tighter. Every day the gas prices are going up. (Yesterday they were $3.67; today it's $3.71). Milk is $3.59 for a half gallon. Bread is at least $2.50, but if you want something healthy, be prepared to pay more. The number of people eating at soup kitchens has almost doubled in the last year. Is anyone getting the picture????
Food is becoming a problem... people are starving. Our responsibility as Americans is to let our government know when they are letting us down in whatever way they will listen. Voting is important and it is the best way to effectively erradicate corruption from office. But I really believe--heart and soul--that rioting and marching are another responsibility that we have to tell our government when something is OUTRAGEOUS and WE WILL NOT STAND FOR IT. Take a cue from Al Sharpton--who was arrested in the marches he led on behalf of Sean Bell. Where has the heart of America gone? Where is our backbone?
Are we so disconnected that we are willing to suffer in silence rather than to band together and stand for something?