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KD MAGAZINE! 
Posted:
October 19, 2006 - יום חמישי, כ"ז בתשרי, תשס"ז

 
 
 
   
 

By the Price of a Gallon of Gasoline
Rabbi Shea Hecht
About the Author

There are moments in everyone’s life that are simply telling. They are usually defining moments. Moments that if we would take the time to contemplate their implications, they would lead us to an honest reflection of who we are. I think this past September 27 was one of those occasions.

I’m not sure how many people noticed one of the headlines that day. It read, “Falling US gas prices boost Bush poll numbers.” When I read those headlines the thought that crossed my mind was that this is one of those occasions that should be a cause for us to pause and reflect.

The thrust of that story was that many people say that the falling prices at the gas pump have lifted President Bush's sagging poll numbers.

"It pumps up presidential popularity," said Larry Sabato, a political analyst at the University of Virginia.

And while many experts believe that the recent rebound enjoyed by President Bush in the polls is a result of the new emphasis by the federal government on security, others say it is mostly about the new lower gas prices.

"I see a near-perfect correlation between Bush's rise in the polls and the decline in gas prices," Sabato said.

"I think for most people it's a lot more important than the global war on terror," he said. "People tank up twice a week. They feel it in their pocket book," he said.

It does seem clear that US consumers are in a more upbeat mood as gas prices continue to decline.

"The economy continues to grow to record levels, and the American people are more convinced now as they feel relief at the pump and have more money in their pockets," Dennis Hastert, House Speaker said.

Historically, American voters are less likely to shake up the political make-up of Washington if they can fill their cars' gas tanks cheaply.

Hastert said the improving economy gave voters reason to return Republican lawmakers to Congress, rather than defecting to opposition Democrats, whom many political observers believe are poised to take control of the House of Representatives.

Whether the falling gas prices is a political ploy or not I think this is one of those moments that reflect who we are. Americans believe that they are moved and affected by many important issues. People believe in saving the world, saving the trees, saving the whales etc. They also strive to help the underprivileged and orphans and the neglected. There were demonstrations for the war in Iraq and against it. There was even national outrage when the personal saga of Terry Schiavo played itself out. Americans like to believe that they have strong conviction and they CARE.

Yet the September 27th article
seems to imply, that the bottom line is that it’s our own pocket book that creates the most impact. I think it is incumbent upon us to use this revealing moment as a spring board and ask ourselves, “Is this really how we want to define ourselves? By the price of a gallon of gasoline?”

Read more articles by Rabbi Hecht 

Rabbi Hecht's Website:  www.sheahecht.com  

 

 
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