Last weekend I attended a combination anniversary celebration/family reunion. One of my wife’s aunts was celebrating her 40th anniversary and one of her sons managed to organize a surprise reunion as a gift. It was pretty great – she and her husband were caught completely by surprise – and it offered us the chance to reconnect with some members of the family we literally haven’t seen in decades. Being the history buff that I am, I really enjoy speaking with some of the elder members of the family and listening to their stories of when they met and how life was back when they were kids. As I was talking to one of those ladies, my cell phone started ringing and I reached down to check who was calling. (It was from work so I sent the call to voice mail. Hey, I’m not available for the office 7 days a week!)
As I put the phone back into the holster and apologized for the interruption, she just shook her head a bit looking at the phone.”It seems like not too long ago that phones had to be hooked to the wall,” she said, “and were heavy enough that if you’d tried to carry it on your belt it would have pulled your pants down!” One of those insights I like to glean from folks her age is the sense of the advancement of technology they’ve seen with their own eyes. The lady I was speaking to there at the reunion remembers clearly the day her father and uncle assisted the power company with the wiring of their house for electric lights. She recalls the first phone she ever saw used – a man at the mining store that served their community was talking on it when they came in to get a few things for the house – and how she was excited to learn that they could get one in their own home.
Within the span of 3 generations we now consider it so commonplace as to be unworthy of comment that people carry around phones in their pockets that are capable of making a voice call from almost anywhere in the country at any time, day or night. Those phones contain more computing power than entire buildings possessed 60 years ago. My phone is a Motorola Q, one of those combination phone/PDA devices. It connects me to my office e-mail, it stores our company’s entire employee directory, maintains a copy of my schedule calendar, and allows me to connect to the Internet from anywhere I can receive signal. (And in the eastern US, especially here in the DC area, that means virtually everywhere.) The average US household is expected, in the next 5 years, to be producing as much data flow to the Internet on a daily basis as the entire Internet saw in 1995. Every house. Every day. The pace of our advancements in information technology, medicine, telecommunications, propulsion, materials fabrication, and host of other disciplines is accelerating at a phenomenal pace and many of us are completely unaware of the ride we’re on. That pace depends – completely – on 1 thing: power. Without the energy to power our research and development efforts, we will go nowhere.
Imagine for a moment that the great scientists and inventors of our history were suddenly just shut off for a significant chunk of their day. That the great Bell Labs of the 1960′s who developed such critical foundations of our technology just had the lights go dark, unable to work, for a few hours every day. How much longer would their discoveries have taken? With such an enforced fracture in their pursuit of their research, would they have missed their discoveries completely?
As anyone who’s paid any attention to the price at the pumps over the last several months knows, we’re in a bit of an energy crisis at the moment. Our dependence on foreign energy sources has made our economy (to say nothing of the country) vulnerable to price pressures we cannot affect. My stance on what approach we should be taking has been clear: we need to utilize all of the energy sources available to us on our own soil. The Dems and Barak Obama are equally clear.
You just need to make do with less.
Obama’s take on things is that people just need to understand that their lives have to change and they have to use less. He’s fine with sky-high gas prices, he’s just sorry they shot up quick enough for us to notice. His plan for our energy needs, should he be elected, is to somehow make America use 15% less electricity by the end of his 1st term. There’s only 2 ways to do that, ladies & gentlemen, and that’s either to have all of the things you do now take 15% less energy than they do today or that you make do with 15% less of the things you do. To achieve a 15% improvement in energy efficiency in all of the things we use on a daily basis requires research and development. Those activities take power. If we’re going to actually cut the power usage by 15%, how much longer will it take to bring those 15% energy efficiencies to our devices? It takes money to make money, folks, and it takes power to make power efficiencies.
The Dem’s dogmatic chant is “we can’t drill our way of our energy problem.” No one is suggesting we can, except for Dems when they build straw man arguments. We aren’t going to conserve our way out of it, either, or biofuel it, or solar it, or whatever. We have the power infrastructure we have today to work with and we need to acquire the resources to make that infrastructure work so we can do the R&D needed to get a new infrastructure. If all you have to eat is corn and you want to turn your dietary intake to wheat, you don’t stop growing the corn while you find wheat to plant and grow. You use what you have while you find or build what you need. Our energy situation is no different.
The Dem-controlled Congress adjourned for their summer vacation not simply without passing legislation to address our energy needs, not simply without gathering the necessary info to produce that legislation, they did it without permitting the debate on the topic. Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid didn’t just lead their caucus to defeat such efforts, they abused their positions and refused to even allow the discussion of what to do. Their answer on this is much the same as their answer on everything: they did nothing. And they think you’re too stupid to notice. After they called for a vote to adjourn – which the Republicans voted against, mind you – the Republican membership decided to stay and call for Congress to come back into session to handle this most urgent issue. The Dems are ignoring them. Quite simply, the Dems are ignoring you, too.
Elections have consequences, folks. You think your gas prices are high now? If Obama becomes President and the Dems maintain control of Congress, your fuel situation is going to get much, much worse while they prattle on about how everyone should just make do with less. The pace of our advance on technologies that could help us – fuel cells, solar, wind, alternative fuels – will slow down right when we’re needing it to speed up. Slightly better than 4 out of 5 of us believes that developing new sources of energy is critical, more so than reducing usage. The Dems in Congress have decided we’re not worth listening to. They’re doing this less than 90 days before a national election. What makes you think they’ll be more responsive when the next election is years away?
Write your Congressmen and tell them to get back to work. Tell them to lift the moratorium on drilling in the OCS. Get the facts about ANWR and ask yourself if careful consideration of that issue yields the same decision as a knee-jerk “don’t drill” attitude. And most importantly, understand what your Congressman’s position on this issue is and whether you and your family can absorb the consequences of their decisions. You have a vote. Be ready, be informed, and be active on election day.