Expensive gas a small price for free Mid-East

Focus on higher gas prices distracts from concern for Middle East.

It can be painful on the wallet, being a college student.

Tuition is expensive. Add room and board on top of that, and that’s a whole lot of cash. Don’t even get me started on loan interest, unpaid internships, scholarships or the lack thereof. Then you factor in the fact that being a student is a full-time job with no salary and I ache for my pocketbook.

Middle East unrest affects gas prices

Now imagine my blood-pressure levels as I watched the gas prices climb this week.

Needless to say, I was upset about it. Imagine the first syllable in upset being stretched out for a couple seconds, with some nice vibrato in there for extra effect. Gas prices are approaching $4 a gallon. That means to fill even a small tank of gas you’ll have to part with 40 or more of your hard-earned dollars. It seems outrageous.

I caught myself shaking my fist as if to say, “If it wasn’t for those silly revolutions in the Middle East I wouldn’t be sitting here at the ARCO watching half my paycheck pour into my Toyota.” And that’s when it hit me.

Gas prices are inflating this week as a reaction to the tumult taking place in the Middle East. Several nations have reached the point of being unsustainable, with Tunisia and Egypt taking the lead. Now Libya is casting off its chains of tyranny. Any instability in the oil-rich Middle East causes the oil giants to clench their fists, and the consumer feels it at the pump. That’s what’s happening here, way over in the Western world.

Connection between prices and Middle East

The price I have to pay for the restoration of the basic human rights of dignity and liberty for millions of Middle East citizens is a couple extra dollars to fill my tank. And I was briefly enraged. I blamed some sort of greedy, faceless corporate entity, but it’s just a reaction to the volatile free market.

As the situation in the Middle East threatens to disturb the outflow of oil from the oil production epicenter of the world, gas prices must rise.

Concern for people, not prices

For a student at a school that talks big about serving the community for Christ, being stingy in light of these radical developments probably isn’t the attitude I should be striving for. My heart goes out to the people of Libya and the Middle East insofar as I feel compassion for them — but God forbid it affect my own cushy lifestyle.

Maybe I’m the only one who struggles with this, but something tells me I’m not. We cringe at our First World problems like gas prices while those in the Third World give up their safety and security to gain for themselves the kind of government that I’ve enjoyed my whole life without a second thought.

Though there is nothing pleasant about getting gouged out of what little money we have, it’s always worthwhile to remember the things we do have: a national government over which we have a modicum of control and a security force that doesn’t threaten our lives on a daily basis.

In that sense, I’m one of the wealthiest men in the world. And I’ll thank God for it — even at the pump.

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