Tomorrow, September 21st, I will be joining my fellow Free World Radio Network hosts in supporting the Great American Walkout. The concept is simple: through a grassroots effort Americans can show the world that we can become energy independent. For one day don’t drive to work, ride a bicycle. Don’t own a bicycle? Walk. Too far to walk? Carpool. No one to carpool with? Stay at home! I will be choosing the “stay at home” option, and will broadcast Situation Awareness that day instead of on Saturday.
Can we really become energy independent?
Time and again Americans have shown that they can accomplish great things through ingenuity, hard work, and a belief in a common dream or goal. In five years we went from some academic theories to the detonation of the world’s first atomic bomb. In less than ten years we went from a nascent manned space program to walking on the moon. In 1980 I had one of the first direct-dial, hand-held telephones in the Tampa Bay area. I would attract astonished stares whenever I would use it in a grocery store or in the mall. By the end of the 1990’s no one looked twice at such a sight as most everyone by then either had a cellular telephone or knew what one was.
I believe that with the right leadership, and with the political will of the American people behind that leadership, we can become energy independent.
If we only knew then what we know now.
So far I have included a few examples of great American accomplishments achieved in a matter of years. I also mentioned that with the right leadership in this country we can accomplish energy independence. But how long would such a goal take? A few years, like the development of the atomic bomb? Around ten years, like our first walk on the moon? How about thirty years? Before we consider that last question let’s review a few quotes:
"We've got to use what we have. The Middle East has only 5 percent of the world's energy, but the United States has 24 percent."
"Our neck is stretched over the fence and OPEC has a knife."
Those are some powerful words and calls for action. “American wisdom and courage right now can set a path to follow in the future," and "The real issue is freedom. We must deal with the energy problem on a war footing."
Of course, students of history will recognize those quotes as coming from President Jimmy Carter’s so-called “malaise” speech from July, 1979. Just 16 months later the American people fired the president who put solar panels on the roof of the White House and replaced him with someone who removed them after taking office. While installing solar panels on the White House was a symbolic gesture, both the putting of them up, and then taking of them down, spoke volumes about where America would head insofar as energy independence was concerned: Almost thirty years later we’re still addicted to oil, with no independence in sight.
And thirty years from now?
Until there is leadership in this country which warns the American people that we cannot continue “consuming 40 percent more energy than we produce, “ that we have to “deal with the energy problem on a war footing,” and that “American wisdom and courage right now can set a path to follow in the future," we the people have to lead the way.
Join me in the Great American Walkout and show the politicians, and the world, that we have it in our own power to become truly energy independent...starting today, not thirty years from now!