Monday, August 04, 2008
Doing the Hard WorkI was having coffee this morning, and watching the price of oil decline, when I saw a headline scrolling across the bottom of the screen, "Obama gives energy speech in Michigan". I switched to CNN, and was pleasantly surprised by Obama's plan. Okay, I take that back, I was more than pleasantly surprised, I was excited and inspired by the ideas that Obama spoke about this morning in the birthplace of the auto industry. And though I know that this speech was tailor made for Michigan, and designed to strengthen his poll numbers, I believe that this energy plan is the only way forward for our nation, and that if Obama is serious and dedicated to these issues, we may have a solution not only to climate change, but to the ailing economy.
The things that we need to do to stall the oncoming danger of climate change, are the very things that Obama outlined in his speech. We must invest heavily in alternative energy, if we don't come up with the capital to take the risk out of these start-up industries, they will fail. We need investment tax credits for solar energy, and wind power, without them, there are major solar projects that will move to Europe, and the wind farms will not get built here, but move to Germany. Our auto industry is near bankruptcy, Ford and GM have reported the lowest sales in nearly 30 years. And while that is mostly the auto industries own fault for not responding to changing consumer needs, and producing the kinds of cars that people want to buy, hybrids, and electric commuter cars, the truth is that the auto industry has no money to re-tool their manufacturing facilities. If we want American-made hybrids, we will have to help GM and Ford financially. We will also have to help Americans buy fuel efficient vehicles, with tax incentives, there are very few people in the position to just go out and buy a new car in this economy, and it's not getting better any time soon.
And in the short term, my apologies to all of the environmentalists who might be reading this page, we will have to drill. In the time it will take for the country to move to cleaner energy, we will still need oil to move this economy, and I'd just as soon use American resources, I'm not crazy about drilling on our own coastlines, but there are places in Oklahoma, the Bakken shale, there is plenty of oil still in the ground right here at home, that we can use in the interim. These changes in energy policy will be difficult, and we may have to divert tax dollars from other priorities, but I truly believe that this is the most important challenge that faces us, and I am so relieved that Obama has done the right thing and addressed these difficult tasks that are in front of us.
There are two things that worry me. The first is that the price of oil will fall, and America will continue to emit carbons into the sky, until the possibility of a solution is beyond us. The second thing that worries me is that John McCain might win the November election.
I urge all of you reading this page to do the hard work. Take the bus if you can, buy a more fuel efficient vehicle if you can afford it, take your investments out of the failing financial institutions, and invest in solar and wind power. There is always risk involved in change, but the risk of doing nothing has never been greater. Work to elect Obama, because this is probably the last chance we will have to direct the future. Get over your doubts, get over your uncertainties, get over your racial worries, because electing John McCain will be the final nail in the coffin of America.
There is a tiny window of opportunity. Do the hard work.
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No subject for immortal verse
That we who lived by honest dreams
Defend the bad against the worse."
-- Cecil Day-Lewis from Where Are The War Poets?
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