I am having flashbacks to the mid-1970s, when gas prices rose because of scarcity thanks to the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) raised the crude oil price 70%. The action was taken in response to the weeks-long Yom Kippur War pitting Egypt and Syria against Israel – and exacerbated by discord between OPEC and U.S. oil companies. For a while instead of a hello you were greeted with: “Anybody know a station that’s open?” I’m guessing many of you have memories of waiting in line for a few gallons of gas – or finding out they had just run out. That decade began with gas prices at an average of $.39/gallon and ending at $1.19/gallon.
Different century, different triggers, same impact. Pain at the pump. The 70’s, were an interesting decade, from the “Boeing Recession” with thousands of layoffs, Nixon’s presidency to disco, ending in high inflation, and mortgage rates in the double digits. I worked at Boeing and was attending University of Washington; both encouraged carpooling and taking the bus. We did without, house-shared, and hung out with friends at home more. Sound familiar? We also listened to evening news – with the fairness doctrine in place, read newspapers delivered to us and had discussions around the dinner table. We trusted mainstream media.
Was it a better time? Not necessarily. Those dinner table discussions were often divisive, with fingers pointing across the aisle. School integration was off to a bumpy start, the denigration of our environment was recognized, and protests continued. The difference was norms were upheld, President Nixon resigned and by doing so admitted his guilt. And the senate was functioning more as originally designed than in recent decades, allowing debates, discussion and decorum – and working across the aisle.
Then, like now, people felt adrift in uncertainty, darkness and fear. I am asking each of us to look around and evaluate where we are and how we got here. This is not a time for disengagement and inaction. The county is at a crossroads. We can abdicate responsibility to those sowing discontent and fear, or we can stand in the light. Get rid of the Us and Them mentality and work on our personal impact.
Let’s find our passion and use it for good, seek facts, open up for change, volunteer, speak out against lies and hate. Together let’s choose love, create change, let our presence be known. We got through it before, we can do it again. In the meantime, on Thursday, May 5th, 11AM ‘til we run out of seeds, we will be at the Newport Post office registering people to vote and handing small packets of sunflower seeds to show solidarity with Ukrainian citizens. Please join us or stop & say hello. Can’t make that? How about:
Engagement/survival/positive impact ideas:
Join a service organization or volunteer for an open position on a board – share your passion and expertise
Pick up the trash in the ditch in front of your property and get some exercise, bring the crushed aluminum cans to the back of the Newport Library & they will recycle & use the proceeds for the community garden project.
Recycle aluminum, metals, electronics, paper and cardboard.
Don’t toss items in usable condition – donate or have a yard sale
Don’t buy cheap wear-and-toss clothes – buy quality and classic and wear it out – or try thrift store shopping – depending on the store – 3 possible benefits: pocketbook, less landfill, supporting a nonprofit
Combine trips and limit mileage, walk, ride your bike, ride share
Listen to and talk with neighbors, friends and especially the younger generation
Take on a local issue, world, national or local.
Support local party and candidates, attend meetings, join a committee, make phone call, write postcards, take on an issue that resonates with you.
Run for Precinct Committee Officer open board seats and elected positions –
As my wise Father would say – you can’t complain if you aren’t doing anything to change it. Small steps count.
We are here for you.