My Hero - in which I start my election season ranting
"Today I challenge our nation to commit to producing 100 percent of our electricity from renewable energy and truly clean carbon-free sources within 10 years....
To those who argue that we do not yet have the technology to accomplish these results with renewable energy: I ask them to come with me to meet the entrepreneurs who will drive this revolution. I've seen what they are doing and I have no doubt that we can meet this challenge.
To those who say the costs are still too high: I ask them to consider whether the costs of oil and coal will ever stop increasing if we keep relying on quickly depleting energy sources to feed a rapidly growing demand all around the world. When demand for oil and coal increases, their price goes up. When demand for solar cells increases, the price often comes down....
Some of our greatest accomplishments as a nation have resulted from commitments to reach a goal that fell well beyond the next election: the Marshall Plan, Social Security, the interstate highway system. But a political promise to do something 40 years from now is universally ignored because everyone knows that it's meaningless. Ten years is about the maximum time that we as a nation can hold a steady aim and hit our target.
...Of course the greatest obstacle to meeting the challenge of 100 percent renewable electricity in 10 years may be the deep dysfunction of our politics and our self-governing system as it exists today. In recent years, our politics has tended toward incremental proposals made up of small policies designed to avoid offending special interests, alternating with occasional baby steps in the right direction. Our democracy has become sclerotic at a time when these crises require boldness.
It is only a truly dysfunctional system that would buy into the perverse logic that the short-term answer to high gasoline prices is drilling for more oil ten years from now.
...It's time for us to move beyond empty rhetoric. We need to act now. This is a generational moment. A moment when we decide our own path and our collective fate.
...We must now lift our nation to reach another goal that will change history. Our entire civilization depends upon us now embarking on a new journey of exploration and discovery. Our success depends on our willingness as a people to undertake this journey and to complete it within 10 years. Once again, we have an opportunity to take a giant leap for humankind." - Al Gore, July 17, 2008.
I love how optimistic Al Gore is - he inspires me, he makes me want to hope. To have that audacity, if you will. I love these big visions, I long to participate in a "generational movement." My generation, the cynical X, has matured in a society which focuses solely on superficial material extravagance, focuses only on selfish indulgences. I believe that I'm not the only one who longs, with a passion, to do something big, to make our country great, to actually do something that benefits the world at large, rather than our pocketbooks. I want to believe, to hope. And yet...I know it's doomed to failure.
I've been complaining about fuel prices for many years - not that they were too high, but that they were too LOW. I'm glad that today's gas prices are making people think about what they're consuming, making them rethink their Hummers, rethink their 60-mile commutes. America has needed a slap to the face for a long time. Stop whining, people, and do something about it. Something smart. Something brave. Something great. Listen to people who are not being bought off by Big Oil.
In other, yet related news, it's about time I really started to buckle down and pay attention to this year's election. I've been taking a break to recover from the exhausting party primaries and I'm already weary from the backbiting, flip-flopping, and insincerity. But it's my duty to be informed, and consequently, dragging my readers along. Here's my disclaimer and credo from the 2006 election - all these qualifications stand, especially that about civil discourse. I will respect those who respectfully disagree and am happy to discuss politics, but will unashamedly ban any comments which make personal attacks or unfounded accusations, or just say "Obama sucks." You'd better back that up on my site, buster.
In 2004, I had a great website for collecting election news, but it was in the days before I discovered del.icio.us, and I've changed computers a few times since then. I can't find it now. So you'll see I've added election coverage from NPR, PBS, and Factcheck.org on my blogroll. I welcome any other recommendations!