The text above has been circulating on Facebook a lot lately. I get annoyed every time I see it for all of the reasons listed below.
1. You can be annoyed or upset about high gas prices while also understanding the reasons the gas prices are high and also realizing it is better than being invaded by Russia. Most people have the capability to feel multiple things at once. Also, Comparative Suffering sucks.
2. People can choose to travel less, yes. People who live paycheck to paycheck and whose only “travel” is back and forth to work can’t just “travel less” Check your privilege.
3. Yes, many people can choose to carpool. Some people won’t be able to based for various reasons. They may live and work in places where they aren’t traveling at a time and direction as other people.
4. I used to work 20 miles from my house. Google Maps says it would take me 2 hours and 17 minutes to bike there. That is not an option. It would take some people that long to bike to their closest grocery store. We don’t all live in bikeable communities.
5. Sure, we can choose to walk. That would be 34 minutes to my closest grocery store. Double or triple that for other people. 7 hours to get to work. Maybe people should just sleep at their jobs? Again, that’s easy to say for people who work from home and live in a city. Not so simple for most people in the country.
6. Can we choose public transportation? I can take a train to get to DC or Baltimore. There was no public transport option to get to work. Walking to the grocery store would be a faster option for me, Maybe people live in a place with no public transportation. Most of the country does not live in cities with subways and buses.
It’s nice and easy to share a meme like this on social media. It sounds good. You think it makes you look good. You are much too good of a person to think about gas prices when a war is happening. Everyone else should be more like you, right? Isn’t that the point? To show everyone you are better than them?
Next time, maybe stop and think about the meme before posting. High gas prices are a killer for a good portion of the country. They can’t just stop driving. They have to drive to survive. Higher prices likely mean less money for staples like food and shelter.
Maybe next time before you decide to post something lecturing people on what they should care about you should check your privilege and bias and consider