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Bleed American: Bigger, fatter and war mongering

Jennifer Kursman
By Jennifer Kursman
Arizona Daily Wildcat
Wednesday, May 12, 2004
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Did you drive to Tucson to see a friend or relative graduate today? Chances are, when it came time to fill up the gas tank, your eyes bulged. Over $2 per gallon? Hey, I know it's not Xanadu, but come on!

Gas prices here, and around the rest of the nation, hit a record high last week as the price of crude oil hit $40 a barrel. At the same time, the average American car has rolled over the 2-ton barrier (in terms of weight), and the average fuel economy has dropped to 20.7 miles per gallon; we'll be needing more oil to power these gas-guzzlers.

Maybe you flew in to Tucson on a plane. Did you spend the entire trip squeezed into a corner, gasping as you searched for a pocket of oxygen? (Chances are yes, if your neighbor was from Detroit; in addition to manufacturing the biggest cars, Detroiters are the fattest people in the United States.)

But let's not forget that two out of every three Americans are overweight.

SUVs, big homes, breast enlargement, bulking up with steroids: It's a context of everything getting bigger," K. Dun Gifford told the Harvard Magazine. Despite the elimination of the super-size option at McDonald's (prompted by negative press from the forthcoming Morgan Spurlock film), Americans these days are expanding everything from our UA butt shorts to our negative image overseas.

The New York Times reported that a recent Pew Research poll revealed that opinion of (George W. Bush) and, by extension, the United States is dipping to a new low, including an 85 percent disapproval rating in Germany and 60 percent in Russia. The Times also reported that many Europeans, referring to Tony Blair, Bush and former prime minister Jose Maria Aznar Lopez of Spain, are muttering, "One down, two to go."

So now you've planted your big American butt in a chair, and you're using this paper to fan yourself.

Or maybe you're trying to kill time before you officially graduate - in which case, America is saved!

To start what will undoubtedly be an afternoon of endless clichˇs: Graduates, you have the power to make a positive difference.

Armed with your newly minted diplomas, you hold the power to remold our country. Will you use your graduation money to buy a gargantuan, fuel-sucking monster of a vehicle that increases our dependence on foreign countries for oil?

While it's certainly all right to celebrate tonight with a delicious feast, will you make it a habit to constantly stuff yourself at every meal, compounding the obesity epidemic to epic proportions and driving up the cost of health insurance nationwide?

Will you use your education as a wrench to get inside "the system" and change it from within, working to end war and promote peace?

Will you take a chance? Or will you follow the crowd and further the trend? Graduates, your degree means so much more than an opportunity to earn more money. Use the knowledge that you gleaned here at the UA to go out there and CHANGE the world.

Better to regret something you did than something you didn't do.

Jennifer Kursman is a biology junior. She can be reached at

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