#198 – Dick Bernard: The President, BP, and Energy Policy

I clicked on “publish” on #197 – Taking Responsibility and went to watch President Obama speak to the nation from the Oval Office Tuesday night.
The speech is short, well worth watching.
As I anticipated in #197, the instant analysis – and criticism – began immediately after the lights went down in the Oval Office.
I watched the speech on my favorite news outlet, and the fancy highly paid version of “armchair quarterbacks” or “sidewalk superintendents” weighed in immediately, slicing and dicing the Presidents every word and gesture and inflection.
I lasted about ten minutes, and left to do other things. There are better ways to spend ones time than listen to talking heads talk.
Then this morning the slicing and dicing continued on-line.
And I’m just paying attention to what President Obama’s “friends” are saying. I can imagine how his enemies are spinning this.
No doubt the President and his advisors were well aware going in that this would be a no-win kind of evening for him.
Everyone has their own particular grievance or expectation. Almost nobody truly believes that it is their problem to solve, or at minimum, most folks don’t consider themselves to have any clout beyond complaining to their friends and disciples.
My own interpretation of his brief, calm, direct remarks was, to borrow a suddenly publicly utterable word: “foks, if you want something to happen long-term, get off your collective a*sses and get to work. I can’t do it by myself.”
He wasn’t talking to his opposition: he knows they’re in it to have him fail, for their own political advantage.
He was talking to the tens of millions of us who said, a year and a half ago, that we wanted to be part of “Change we can believe in”. And the work has to be done locally and state by state, with local lawmakers, and state and national elected representatives we send to Washington.
Without our active involvement – and carping about a speech is not active involvement – our nation will continue the slide on the slippery slope to at best irrelevancy and at worst oblivion.
We cannot survive, living in the manner to which we have become accustomed, relying on the ever more elusive fossil fuels, found in ever more dangerous places, that we’ve gorged ourselves on over the last century.
I believe that most people, including those who hate Obama, know that we’re in a major crisis; that without major change we’re doomed.
Now is the time for us to act in our own self interest and help our nation change its far too long accepted self-destructive course.
President Obama advocated, last night, for moving away from our addiction to fossil fuels, and said it was possible, much like new-President John Kennedy said, years ago, that we could land a man on the moon by the end of the 1960s.
I had just turned 21 when Kennedy made his “man on the moon” speech in May, 1961, and nobody believed him, but the goal was attained with an outpouring of national will, July 20, 1969*. Granted, Kennedy had fear – of Sputnik, and the Soviet Unions nuclear adventures – in his corner then; but our crisis. now, is even greater.
Change can happen with energy policy in this decade as well IF we work to make it so. We can’t wait.
* – I notice the YouTube link invites a re-direct to the BP channel – something I had heard about. Ah, the information age….