The View from My Porch
Bill Maher coined the above phrase after September 11th and based it on a WWII poster. Since 9/11 a certain segment of American citizens has wanted to equate the War on Terror (and the War in Iraq because the government has muddled it in their minds) with WWII, drawing parallels with Pearl Harbor and what happened on September 11th, 2001. They want to feel a part of a “good war” without any of the inconvenience. They believe that if we alter our lives for the sake of the conflict with the terrorists, Bin Laden wins. This makes no sense.
During WWII Americans on the home front were inconvenienced through rationing. Did they say Hitler and Hirohito had already won because of it? No, they planted Victory Gardens and invented recycling. How can we possibly expect to defeat an enemy whose main weapon is that the part of the world they come from sits on most of the world’s oil without asking Americans to curb their appetite for it?
Everyone is feeling the effects of an unstable economy which is at the center of the presidential campaign. The bite at the gas pump has extended to the grocery store and most everything that gets transported by/or uses petroleum products. The recent slight decline the price of gas may have been the result of consumers using less. We can make a difference. Americans should continue to use as little oil as possible and demand that the government, regardless of who’s in office, support research into alternative energy with an eye to wean Americans off their addiction to oil.
In 2006 President Bush stated that America is addicted to oil, but he has been loath to support efforts to end the addiction that damages the environment, is terrorism’s biggest weapon, and lines the pocketbook of the oil industry which has a huge lobby in D.C. In mid June of this year he once again called for drilling in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. John McCain wants to open more off-shore oil drilling. Neither of these proposals will affect the American domestic oil supply for years and when they do it will be by a scant 7% at best and not be felt until 2030. In the meantime, who will stand to benefit? You’ve got it. The oil lobby. Oil companies currently sit on 4,000 unused oil permits. Why drill in ANWR while those permits go unused?
America cannot drill its way out of the energy crisis, hasn’t the oil refining capacity to satisfy American demand, and discussion of drilling in sensitive areas distracts from the real solution which will be finding many forms of alternative energy that substantially decreases, if not eliminates, our dependence on oil. This is the research which the Federal Government ought to be funding. We have the know-how to do this, but the government, corporations, and individuals need to get on board with this effort.
Despite a 361% increase of permits to drill on public lands between 1999 and 2007 increases in production has not been reflected in lower gasoline prices. Obviously the price of oil is not tied to American domestic production. The United States sits on 2% of the world’s oil and consumes 25% of it. There is no way we are going to produce enough domestic oil to break the stranglehold the Middle East has on us. End our dependence on foreign oil and the United States becomes safer. We win.
Sometimes it feels impossible to believe that decisions we make on a daily basis can impact national problems that loom like the political equivalent of the Himalayas, but each and every one of us can make a difference. Together we can make a huge difference. We can choose to use public transportation whenever we can and make every trip count when we can’t, choose to live closer to work when that’s an option, choose to use reusable cloth bags and recycle, plant a Victory garden. American citizens are a part of the War on Terror and the Energy Crisis. We are a nation of the people and the people need to stop being dictated to by big businesses who are the pushers of the drug to which we are addicted. The Greatest Generation did not sit back and wait for the military to win WWII. They rolled up their sleeves and did whatever they could to make victory a reality not just over there, but here.