One Mind at a Time

Crossposted from The Wild Wild Left

I spoke to a right-leaning homeowner yesterday, owner of the mansion on the huge hill we had to ball-cart four 8 foot Pines Trees at and plant on his acreage. I changed his thinking.

He was a talker.

Ultimately, I made a statement to him, which brought him into full agreement with me:

No, Sir, I think the bigger problem is that Americans never want to worry about a fire hydrant in their yard until their house is on fire. Then and only then do they want to cough up the money and time and allow one to be put in their yard. Then its too late.

The homeowner’s college age son was looking (with his own money) to buy a muscle car to use summers, as a second car to the economic one he used for school. His father was trying to explain what he would have to pay in insurance and gas. He started railing about gas prices and saying even he and his wife don’t go anywhere like they used to.

I glanced at our dump truck and trailer and mentioned how much more it cost us to come and do these installations than it used to because of Diesel prices. When he laughed a little and said gas engines are now the better buy than Diesel, I replied that Diesel consumption in the Middle East for the war machine was driving prices up, he looked thoughtful and said I was probably right. It takes a lot of Diesel to run tanks and machines.

He then said we were all going to make lifestyle changes soon. I said I already had. He thought about it, and realized aloud, he and his family had also.

He said “I am just not making the money I used to anymore.”  I gave him a sidelong glance and said, “None of us are, name one person you know that is doing better than they were, say 8 years ago.” I emphasized the 8 years gently. He searched my face to see if I was intentionally referring to the current administration, and saw I was. He dropped his gaze and said with a sigh, “You’re right about that; you’re one smart young lady.”

Then he said pointedly, “This drilling off Florida isn’t the answer either, people are all fired up like its going to save us, and it will take 5 years or more (I know its more like 10, but I let that slide) to see a barrel even come out of the ground. In that amount of time, we are going to be at critical mass.”

I had to say, “Well, thing is, it has been coming for a long time; we should have been exploring alternate energies for years now, they knew, they were TOLD this was coming.”

He answered, “There was no money in it, they’re only interested in…” he paused, looking for the right words.

“Short term profits over long term stability?” I offered.

“Exactly!” He looked like a light bulb went off over his head, “The problem is, there is no way to get oil quick enough to alleviate what is happening. People don’t get that. They don’t want to.”

“No, sir,” I said gently, giving him the quote above the fold about Fires and Hydrants. I added, after a pause, “We needed to be looking then, and we need to be looking now for things other than oil.”

He concluded, “Thats one thing Liberals and Environmentalists have been right about all along. It seems to me they are right about a lot more things than I thought.”

I smiled softly, and complimented him on his Hosta bed, as we walked along, letting it soak in. No reason to over-make my point. I had him thinking, and it was time to let him feel good about the things he had been right about. He had nice gardens.

He pretty much followed me around all day after that, the nice old guy.

Change happens just like that many times. Not in a tidal wave, but in a little drip, a drip that will erode the strongest rock.

8 comments

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    • Diane G on June 20, 2008 at 2:06 pm
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    Keep talking….

    (I have to go to work, so can’t properly diary-sit, but will check in sometime between work and my traditional Girlie Friday Happy Hour I have with the neighborhood women. If I check in after THAT, I may slur my typing. You may laugh at me, should I do so. Hahahaha)

  1. The next quarter’s profits take priority over everything else, even when you’re headed for a cliff.

    Hostas, huh? You are one smart young lady.

    • Edger on June 20, 2008 at 4:41 pm

  2. for the right to argue their talking points.

    I’ve had some similar conversations lately like the one you described.  There is no getting around what’s missing from people’s wallets.  Gas, food, and housing are causing lifestyle changes for all segments of the population, and it’s finally grabbing even the most stubborn people by the balls.  We can’t go on like this.

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