Fill the tank, or feed the family?

Published 12:00 am Sunday, June 8, 2008

The issue: Gas and food prices continue to rise.

Our position: Although none of us have much choice, those without the means should not suffer silently.

In the most basic sense, our needs as humans can be pared down to food, water, shelter and love.

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But in a world where the necessities have become overrun by luxuries, it is hard to draw a line between what we need and what we want.

One thing is for sure. Neither automobiles nor our heavy reliance on them is going to go away.

To say that we need an object that costs $20,000 or more and that we&8217;ll keep for roughly seven to 10 years sounds a bit awkward when we take a step back and look at things.

But this is where we are, and there is no getting around it.

On the other hand, there&8217;s no disputing that we need our bodies to stay in optimal condition in order to maintain a high quality of life.

Food, our body&8217;s fuel, is one uncompromising necessity that we spend some amount of money on each day.

The problem we find ourselves faced with is that both the price of food and gas has risen in blinding disproportion to the average income.

There are some who won&8217;t let that affect their summer travel plans, their choice in vehicles or their taste in dining.

Good for them. If they have that much expendable income, they have the right to do what they wish.

Most of us, however, can&8217;t afford not to make some sort of sacrifice. For some families, the knife wielded by big oil and the grocers cuts a deeper gash.

Some people literally have to make the choice between running out of gas on the way to work or skipping a meal so that their children won&8217;t have to.

It was hard enough before these economically rough times hit, but with no end of the rising costs of food and fuel in sight, where do the tough choices end?

Everyone balks at the thought of paying $4 for a gallon of gas. What about paying $5 for a gallon of milk? What about $6?

We can theorize that without a certain problem or without a certain person making decisions, things would be different. We really have no way of knowing, however, because we as citizens have not truly tried to look to ourselves for accountability.

Wasted food is as much a factor to rising costs as a dairy farmer&8217;s desire for a profit margin. Surely there is something in the pantry we won&8217;t eat that someone else will.

There has to be at least one trip per week we can make without our 2,500-pound vehicle.

And in all the time spent complaining, there certainly has to be someone across town that has a bigger reason to gripe.