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Driving America into the ground

By J.J. Jackson
web posted June 16, 2008

Broken down carBack in college I remember a conversation with another student who was not really a friend but more of an acquaintance.  One day we just so happened to be parked next to each other and he was asking me about my beat up '83 Caprice Classic.  He had a much nicer '94 Lumina which his dad had bought for him two years before and which he was complaining about not running very well.  We talked for a few minutes and I happed to ask him what type of oil he was putting in her.  That's when the blank look crossed his face and he asked me, "What do you mean oil?"

"You know, oil - motor oil?" I asked.  Well, he didn't have a clue what I was talking about.  "You are changing the oil every few thousand miles right?"

When he said, "no" I knew there was a problem.  In the nearly 20,000 miles he had driven this car he had never even thought to change his motor oil because he did not know you were supposed to.  A cursory inspection of the vehicle also revealed that his tires were nearly bald, that his muffler was hanging on by a literal thread, and several other problems with his vehicle daddy had bought him.

Other than putting gas in the tank when the needle approached E, he had no idea how to actually take care of his car.  It was, honestly, amazing that it still ran.

Another young lady that I had known, who also had a car bought for her by her parents, came running into my dorm room a few years later screaming something along the lines of, "You know about cars right?  Mine's leaking something and can you please, please come take a look!"

Panicked and scared, she did not really have a rational thought running through her brain so I went out to the parking lot with her.  It was a hot autumn day and right in front of her car, which she had left stopped halfway out of the parking space after seeing a puddle while leaving, was the liquid.  I bent down dipped my finger in it and seeing that it was clear and odorless I asked her if she had been running her air conditioning.

She said that she had because she had just driven a hundred miles back to school from home in the sweltering heat.  I stood up and told her that it was just condensate from the AC and quickly tried to explain how condensation from her cooling system had simply dripped on the ground.  I also explained to her that she could tell this by looking at the color of the fluid and that she had nothing to worry about.

Well, she was certainly relieved and merrily went on her way.

A month later however she was back in my dorm room crying because her car had stopped running.  Once again I went back out with her to see if we could find the problem.  As we approached where her car was parked, I noticed a trail of brown liquid spotted on the pavement and it led right to where she was parked.  I looked under the car, reached under, put my finger in a pool of liquid and pulled it back out with what was clearly motor oil on the tip.

Showing it to her, I informed her that she had an oil leak and by the looks of things probably has dropped all of her oil and seized her engine.   "What do you mean?" she cried indignantly.  "You told me that it was just water from my air conditioner!"

"No," I said, "I told you that the clear liquid was water from your AC.  What color is this?"

She sheepishly said brown and I told her that brown was engine oil.  Of course she hadn't checked the color.  She only saw the fluid and assumed it was condensate again.  So she wound up getting her car towed and at significant cost had it fixed.

Now, what does this trip down memory lane to my college years have to do with anything?  It's a correlation to how people act in America these days.  We've been given this country by our parents.  But do we really now how it runs, how to keep it running or how to maintain it?  Or are we just putting gas in the tank and assuming that it will always work properly?  Are we ignoring what people tell us and carrying on in blissful ignorance?

Sadly many Americans are.  Eventually if we don't start taking care of America, supporting individual liberty, reigning in government spending on unconstitutional projects and holding our elected officials who are at the wheel accountable, the country will break so badly that no amount of money will fix it.

American is careening towards a cliff.  Our brakes are out, our tires are bald and out of alignment and the worst thing is our air conditioning is broken.  But we have a full tank of gas and we seem content to be along for the ride. ESR

J.J. Jackson is a libertarian conservative author who has been writing and promoting individual liberty since 1993 and is President of Land of the Free Studios, Inc. He is the lead editor of Conservative News & Opinion – The Land of the Free and also the owner of The Right Things – Conservative T-shirts & Gifts. His weekly commentary along with exclusives not available anywhere else can be found at http://www.libertyreborn.com.

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