I Was Born a Ramblin’ Man (where’s the Citgo?)

Though I was not ‘born in the back seat of a Greyhound bus rollin’ down highway 41′  and I have virtually lived in the same place for the last 29 years…  I consider myself a drifter.  That is not saying I lack conviction or can’t stay committed to any person, place or thing… it is a state of mind.  There is somethin’ about an open road, the top down on the ol’ convertible and no particular place to go… it just makes you feel alive.  Ofcourse,  gas is cheap in my little scenario of unbridled freedom and wanderlust fulfilled.  I imagine myself toolin’ along a two lane black top as the sun is goin’ down,  thirstin’ for a Big Gulp and some high octane fuel.  Maybe there’s a cute little,  freckled brunette workin’ behind the counter lookin’ for someplace to go… waitin’ for me to come roarin’ up with the radio blastin’… take her away from her oppressive momma and all this misery…

But shucks,  Citgo don’t work here no more!  So it’s back to reality…

When 7-11 announced it was dumpin’ Citgo in favor of an American fuel supplier, I had mixed feelings.  Most of these countries would not be able to suck their oil out of the ground if it were not for American enterprises ‘spanning the globe’ looking for and developing those oil rigs.  In turn, the U.S. has been the largest single consumer of the international effort to keep the oil flowing, it has been that way for years.  Now if you were in business, would you bite the hand that fuels you?

When President Hugo Chavez of Venezuela in view of the entire civilized world called President Bush “the Devil” and claimed he could still “smell the sulfur” the majority of those present at the United Nations  laughed.  When he departed the speaker stand, he got a standing ovation.   Chavez has declared the U.S. is an enemy of Venezuela so now the sides are being drawn up… who stands to be the biggest loser?  It has been documented that Venezuela’s oil production has been decreasing over the past few years due largely to Chavez’ ineptitude as a leader in the world economy.   But that is not what troubles me.

I admire a man standing up for his convictions, and if there is a valid disagreement over one countries policy then by all means it should be addressed… but what did America do to him?  Bolster the economy and make his country rich?  Bad America.  He declares that our government is out to kill him and he needs to prepare his country against aggression but all I see is a bunch of posturing by a little man given too much responsibility and not enough savvy.  He is oppressive in his governmental policy to his own people, a dictator voted into office but opposed to democracy.  But so be it, alienate yourself from your best customer, that is a great business strategy.  We’ll get along…

But that is not what really bothers me. 

Since WWII ended and the United Nations was formed the U.S. has been singled out and  handed the bill.  In an effort to bring countries together under diplomacy and an equal voice in international affairs, the U.S.  has championed their right to an open forum.  Now these countries applaud Chavez ?  Okay.  Let him be your salvation… we withdraw.  If that is all our government has meant to you;  look to him to guide you, feed you, protect you and influence your culture.  He idolizes Castro… look at the progress Cuba has made in the last 50 years, is that the way of your future? 

I say choose now, but also…  if you are truly America’s friend and not just suckin’ up for the benefits… think of the future.  America continues to evolve, Chavez is a flash in the oil pan… if not for that,  he wouldn’t have any influence at all. 

There are road signs up and down the highway, it is hard to predict what lies ahead just over the next hill or around the bend.  Highway 41 runs right through the heart of Ft. Myers, Florida and sometimes it beckons to me, especially when things are not as rosy as I would like them to be.  Sometimes I hear her callin’ to me and I am tempted to chuck it all, pack up my cares and just burn rubber.  I doubt I shall ever lose that sense of freedom even if I never act upon the impulse… but it is knowing I have the option that comforts the drifter mentality in me. 

And that fuels the imagination far better than Hugo’s Citgo…  ya know? 


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