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Old 09-24-2005, 11:07 AM
Barbara Barbara is offline
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Join Date: Jul 2005
Posts: 696
Default Comments at the Gas Pumps

Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Conversations at the Gas Pump

The average price of a gallon of regular gas here in Oklahoma is $2.20, which is an all-time high. Lucky for us, the further north we drive, the higher gas prices become. Yesterday unleaded gas in Bartlesville, OK, hit the $2.49 mark, but the high prices don't seem to be deterring people from driving. U.S. gas consumption -- which accounts for more than one-tenth of total world oil demand -- is projected to rise one percent this year, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. Yesterday we stopped at a gas station in Bartlesville to ask people why they think gas prices are so high. Bush got 70 percent of the vote here.

O.C. Ford, 79, Retired

Why do you think gas prices are so high?

Cause the oil companies are gaugin' us. They're going to continue gaugin' until the people quit drivin', but we're not goin' to quit drivin' cause we'll have to walk and I don't like to walk. If you had a ranch in Texas with oil, would you care how much money they were chargin'?

Are you from around here?

No, I'm from Kansas.

How much is gas in Kansas?

It's about 13 cents higher. At least.

Wayne Yeazal, 45 and His Mother Twila Yeazal, 67

Why do you think gas prices are so high?

Wayne Yeazal: The economy and the government. The owners of the oil companies are greedy.

Do you think high prices cause people to drive less or does it just get them angry?

Wayne Yeazal: It gets them angry.

Twila Yeazal: I don't go any further than I have to. We live out in the country and we drive 30 miles from here to there. You either gotta let your medicine go, your gas go or your utilities or your food. I've been letting food go and going to churches to get food. That's the only way we can make it.

Are you seeing more people at church asking for food?

Twila Yeazal: Yes. There's a whole bunch of 'em that give out food cause our income can't make it. There are four adults living in our house. Me and my husband, my son and my sister. We're all disabled. They're just starting to draw social security and it's been hard.

What do you think about Bush's social security plan?

Twila Yeazal: I think he's nuts. He better leave us alone. He gives everybody tax breaks, but he doesn't help the poor people. Poor people ain't got nothin'. We had to build us a new home because we lived in two trailer houses put together. We tried to fix them, but they were too old. Our new house is electric. Before that we used propane, electric and water. Now we're just using electric, so I don't know what our bill is going to be like. Our propane bill was so darn high, we couldn't afford it.

Are people able to find jobs in this area?

Twila Yeazal: Not a whole lot.

Wayne Yeazal: There are jobs for teenagers at fast food places, but no one can live off of $6 an hour.

Twila Yeazal: My other son is a truck driver and he can't make it on his salary.

Wayne Yeazal: I was a truck driver until I got hurt. I had a bunch of surgeries and had a $300,000 bill. There's no way I can pay for that. I'm on Medicaid and only make $400 a month from social security.

Do you vote?

Twila Yeazal: No. I don't like the government.

Wayne Yeazal: I don't vote. I don't pay attention.

Melvin Martin, 59, Part-Time Building Inspector

Why do you think gas prices are so high?

Pure greed and because they can get away with it. They're trying to see how much people will pay for gas. People will pay just about anything for gas except now that it's so high, people are starting to cancel their vacations. Mainly it's political. You got oil men in the White House after all. You know, Bush and Cheney are a bunch of oil men and they'll sock it to you every time. They don't care. They don't care about the people. Never did. It's so high now that if it drops back down to $2.10 or $2.20 everybody's gonna be dancing around saying, 'Oh boy, it's only $2.10 a gallon.' That's totally ridiculous. It's all about rich men and poor men. Poor men like me are pumpin' gas and rich men are on vacation telling lies.

You're not a fan of Bush?

No. I was lied to in Nam and he's lying to the people about the Iraqi thing and the oil thing. The Gulf of Tonken was a lie. Weapons of mass destruction was a pure lie. Young men and women are dyin' for nothin'. Afghanistan was a righteous cause. We should have sent all these men and women over there and gotten bin Laden, cut his head off and come home. Did they? No. We're over there losing people for nothin'. Eventually we'll pull out of that country and it'll be total anarchy anyway.

Bush is popular in this state.

Yeah, unfortunately. Big oil is around here, so sure, he's popular. He'll lie and people will believe him.

Kerry didn't win one county in this state.

Yeah, he's too intelligent for them I guess.

What's the economy like in this area?

The economy is real poor. On TV, they say, 'Look at all these jobs.' They are minimum wage jobs. People are losing jobs. I got laid off in '99. I've been trying to make it ever since. I have three college degrees, but I don't know enough people.

What'd you do?

I was a building inspector for an insurance company. I made a nice living for a quarter of a century. When you get laid off, it's a big shocker. All of a sudden, you got no money coming in. If you're in your 50s and 60s, they're not gonna hire you to do anything. They won't even hire you to sweep the floor. People laid off my age have to get two or three different part-time jobs.

What are you doing now?

I do part-time building inspections and my wife went back to work as a teacher. Without that, we would have lost the house.

Do you have health insurance?

I get it through the VA and a clinic in Tulsa. If it wasn't for that, we'd get sick and just stay home and hurt. Or die.

What advice would you give the candidates who run in the next election?

Tell it like it is. Keep it honest. Focus on what people are interested in which is high gas prices, people dying overseas and social security which they're trying to take away. Important things. Not the garbage the Republicans throw at us.

Where do you get your news?

I watch a little CNN. I read the local paper, which is totally Republican and biased. I read the Tulsa paper, which is a little better. I listen to the radio.

Mary Fowler, 54, Housekeeper

Why do you think gas prices are so high?

From what I've read, they say it's because of the Iraq war. I've also read about alternatives to gas and even automobiles that use alternatives, but for some reason, the big oil companies bought up the patents for that, so it's not just the Iraq war and it's not President Bush's fault. He gets blamed for everything, but it's not his fault. It's just greed from other people. I feel like the president is doing everything he can to help.

Like what?

For one thing, he is protecting our country by being in Iraq. We can't pull out too soon because they'll think we're chicken and they'll try to attack us again. We can't pull out until they're able to fend for themselves. Those who are strong are supposed to help those who are weak. We are strong and we're that way for a reason. We've always been peacemakers. As long as we keep the peace, we'll be blessed.

So you believe we're acting as peacemakers in Iraq?

Yes and we're protecting the innocent. Muslims want to rule the world. They want to take over the whole world. That's their evil purpose.

Do you know any Muslims?

I've ministered to them. A few lived in my apartment building and they invited us over for dinner. I went with a Christian guy. They were nice. The food was nice. At the end, we said, 'Can we pray for you?' And they said yes, if we can pray for you. We prayed for the peace of god. Most of them are very harsh. There's no tenderness or love.

Do a lot of Muslims live in this area? Have you met any others besides the ones who invited you over for dinner?

Most of them live in Tulsa.

Why do you think we're in Iraq? People say we're freeing the Iraqis one minute and then change their opinion and say they're horrible people.

Soldiers over there say we don't get half the news. There's so much good going on. The majority of the people appreciate the help. The majority, not the weirdos who are deceived.

Where do you get your information about the war?

The Bible and the 700 Club. I also listen to preachers who know what's going on. Pat Robertson.

What do you like about Bush?

He's a praying man of god. He's a family man and he does care. He gets blamed for everything. If this country would turn back to god, things would get better. You can't go on killing babies and allowing homosexual stuff to stay. We do love the people, but we don't love their actions.

Do you think talking about homosexuality does anything to improve healthcare or poverty?

I guess for me I've always had to trust the lord for the next job, which is usually housecleaning. If you have your eyes on him, he'll take care of you. The government can't help us.

Do you always vote?

Yes, I volunteered for the Republican Party and I enjoyed it very much.

Have you always been Republican?

When I first registered, I was a Democrat. Just from studying in school, I thought that's what I wanted to be because I believed in government for the people, by the people and of the people. But after I was saved, I realized the Republican beliefs are me so I switched and I'm glad I did.

What does it mean to be a Republican?

Republicans pick the people who believe like we do.

You mean believe in the Bible?

Yes and godly principles. If we kick god out, we'll be like other countries that have AIDS, sickness and poverty. God created the earth, he created the rules and he knows what's best for everybody.

Unfortunately, we have AIDS, sickness and poverty in this country.

Yes, because we allow homosexuality.

You blame homosexuality for AIDS, sickness and poverty?

Well, sometimes people are innocent. This nation is in trouble. The ACLU are run by communists and funded by communists. What does that tell you? They want to take god away from us.

The ACLU once helped Pat Robertson's son set up churches. They also helped Jerry Falwell fight church restrictions three years ago. If they wanted to take god way from you, why would they help Pat Robertson's son and Jerry Falwell?

I haven't heard about that. I'm sure there are a few good people in the ACLU.

I've interviewed a lot of people on this trip and while they want freedom of religion, none have said they want to take god away.

When they first started the country, those that didn't believe in Jesus were put in jail. Once a country is dedicated to god and founded on its principles, it has to stay that way.

What issues are most important to you?

Getting the right Supreme Court Justice in you. I want god back in the schools. They kick god out of schools and they wonder why we have drugs and sex in the schools.

(At this point in our conversation, a gas attendant approached me and said I couldn't interview people without permission from the corporate office. I took a photo of Mary and her Bible sticker and went on my way.)

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