Gasoline hikes can literally be the price we pay for invasion >

A good chunk of my morning was spent writing responses on Facebook to people upset about rising gas prices.

I usually don’t respond much on Facebook because, well… I hate it. There’s no way out of it. I don’t mind the debate, in fact I like it, but there is something about the debate on Facebook. And I know what it is. There is no physical attribute to it.

When we debate in person, our bodies go into protection mode and we usually don’t push the limits because we have a mechanism that kicks in – we don’t want people to hate us in person. On our phones, laptops, tablets and more, we don’t care. We feel safe.

Our security right now is a little hampered as we watch the Russians throw projectiles at Ukraine. It’s part of the discussions we’re having because, of all the things Americans are worried about right now, gas prices seem to be the highest.

Not that people get killed overseas, or that Putin promises to give people an escape route and then hits it with explosives. We worry about $4 per gallon of gasoline or worse.

I’d put $20 on -200 odds that Putin had a newspaper photo of Americans lined up in front of gas pumps thumb-stuck on his headboard as motivation. I do not care. I don’t care about the price of gas if it squeezes the Russian economy. I will pay $5 a gallon to help save lives.

Sure, that’s a bit of a drama, and America’s gas supply is literally what fuels our economy, but we also have to make sacrifices.

My daughter is worried about something being launched in New York from across the ocean. I don’t blame her. But sometimes I laugh at how this invasion is going. The fact that Germany seized a $600 million yacht belonging to a Russian oligarch made me laugh. A $600 million ship…

I’m impressed with the anti-aircraft batteries. These look like firework bases with laser tracers and they can fire so much ammo at Russian fighter jets that they look like a laser net. The net also interrupts missiles and shells from the jet. The Ukrainian defensive positions shot down quite a few jets. With a smile, I watched footage of an agricultural tractor carrying a Russian tank.

Then I see death and destruction happening in Eastern Europe – burning apartment buildings and sick children crammed into hospital basements because intelligence said Russian forces were going to hit the ‘hospital. It’s no longer funny.

Putin is on a trigger and I still believe in all of our best angels. It’s more than fanatical to think about launching a nuclear strike – and it’s not worth considering in my mind. There is no coming back from that. So I pay more attention to how the Hawkeyes play and help plan the construction of a new health department.

This conflict must end the right way, but wars are not fought the same way anymore. President Biden calls the game based on the best minds he has access to. Many other countries are on the same footing and we are pressing Russia’s pressure points, which is saving lives and getting global forces to tackle the problem.

To me, this seems like the right way to go. Gov. Kim Reynolds and the GOP didn’t appear to be offering any other solutions to the crisis, but pointed to what they perceived as Biden’s shortcomings. Isn’t it safe to increase the pressure to see where the breaking point is? The sanction must be progressive.

When America’s interests were threatened in the past, we were the toughest kids in the class because we were united. We need to get back to that mentality. We can fight our own internal problems when this is cleaned up, but for now, higher gas prices may literally be the price we pay.

That, and for some crazy reason, having to listen to the hand sizes of NFL quarterbacks combine over the past four days — but that’s beside the point.

Chuck Vandenberg is editor and co-owner of Pen City Current. He can be reached at [email protected].

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