Hello Smoke. Meet Mirrors.

It is easy, on a painfully hot day in Texas, standing at the pump and watching the mirage of dollar bills evaporate in front of your very eyes as gasoline gurgles out at $3.89 a gallon, to feel a sudden hot-flash of absolute rage towards the gas situation. Sometimes while driving home from work, I daydream about how much further my current paycheck would go if I was making it in 2002. Or, heck, even six months ago. But it's best not to ponder these things, especially when you pull up to a stop light next to a homeless person dripping with sweat, or drive by vacant strip malls whose "For Lease" signs advertise a homeless economy. So I just keep repeating my daily affirmation: I'm lucky to have a job, I'm lucky to have a job.

Our world is so consumed by the gas prices right now that it's difficult to see the forest for the trees. Or the responsibility for the dependency. It's too easy to go down the rabbit hole of "Drill now!" and allow ourselves to get distracted by our text-message-trained, I-wanted-relief-yesterday psyches. And the Republicans have realized this. They've spent this week capitalizing on the very sense of urgency that Americans are most prone to responding to in their favor: fear of America's demise, fear of our own status-symbol empowerment fading, and -- the classic Republican stronghold -- the sense that the only way to be Rich Like Them is to side with Them.

So the Republican Congress made a bunch of noise on Friday about Speaker Pelosi not holding a vote on offshore drilling before the August recess, staying on the floor of the House long after the lights went out and demanding a special session be called to allow the vote. One of Texas's most vulnerable Congressmen, John Culberson, even "Twittered" from the floor of the House, attempting to give the showdown a team mentality:

This is a huge peprally to give America a vote - just let us vote - to drill here drill now to get us through the next 10 to 15 years

01:35 PM August 01, 2008 from TwitterBerry

To which I say: Then what?

Incidentally, Culberson made no reference to his vote, along with my other favorite soon-to-be-ex-Congressman Michael McCaul, against the Paycheck Fairness Act. This bill ended up passing, thanks to every Democrat and 14 running-scared (and wisely so) Republicans, despite the fact that 178 Republicans voted against it. From Feminist Majority Foundation:

Dr. Evelyn Murphy, a PhD economist, the former Lieutenant Governor of Massachusetts, and current president of The WAGE (Women Are Getting Even) Project, also testified at the hearing. Dr. Murphy explained that the existing gender wage gap will result in a young woman graduating from high school today making $700,000 less over the 35 years a woman typically works than a young man graduating at the same time. The disparity increases for women college graduates, who will lose $1.2 million over their work lives, and for those with law, medical, or MBA degrees, who will make $2 million less than their male counterparts.
So, here's the thing. And this is important.
I'm a woman. And I am dependent on gasoline. But I'm also dependent on a salary, and on equal rights, and on fair pay. And if you're going to give me, a woman, the option between drilling offshore in the hopes of "getting through" the next 10 to 15 years, or creating a fair and equal paycheck for me to get through those 10 to 15 years with, I'd go with option B. Because while I'm not exactly in favor of paying $4 a gallon to get to work, I'd like to hope that once I got there, I'd be making the same amount as (or more than) my male counterparts.

I'm not quite there yet, I guess. I'm not quite ready to sacrifice a few thousand oil-soaked birds in order to be able to buy some new bookshelves at IKEA with my paycheck that I can only assume is equal and fair.

So stop trying to distract me. I'm a fair woman, but (in the words of Colonel Jessup) this fucking heat, well, it's making me absolutely crazy.

2 Response to "Hello Smoke. Meet Mirrors."

  • Logan Says:

    gas is only $3.59 now!

    But for real, I don't think any good decisions are made hastily. Anything voted on now will simply be to save their job or help their guy win.

    Still thinking about voting for Obama?

  • m Says:

    i feel you one the heat and the evaporating finances and offer only humor and levity as a balm: