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America, in its Current Morbid, Lethargic State, Needs an Infusion of Creative, Innovative Thinking

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America is a nation that, by all the evidence at hand, has lapsed into a state of lethargy and apathy, a shadow of its former self. What's so different, what exactly is missing? We might describe it as a nation that seemingly has lost its drive and quest for excellence, its creative and innovative motivations, and its vision for the future.

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Once renowned as was the greatest industrial power in the world America used its great resources, both natural and human, to accomplish great things. That's no longer the case; while it still retains much of its wondrous natural resources America has allowed the masters of Corporatism to decimate its once highly productive workforce in the quest for greater and greater profits. The power that fueled this nation's economy, derived by combining ingenuity, labor and materials to manufacture products, is rapidly dissipating.

America appears to be in the process of "killing the goose that laid the golden eggs" a phrase that, as Wikipedia defines it, means "an unprofitable action motivated by greed." Or it might be explained as d estroying a source of riches through stupidity or greed; or destroying something that provides a steady, long- term gain for the sake of a quick reward. Yes, that goose is on life support.

Why is this being allowed to happen? Why doesn't this government function by establishing specific objectives and goals? I'm speaking of goals that include addressing the problem of climate change and taking the lead in creating alternative sources of energy. How about rebuilding and restoring our education system, our infrastructure, significantly improving our electrical grid, building high speed rail systems? Why are there no specific plans to resurrect our manufacturing sector, create millions of new jobs and reenergize our consumer-driven economy?

What does this government intend to do about ending its agenda of perpetual war and the massive associated costs? Why doesn't it have a plan to address and eliminate the underlying problems that are causing nearly 50 million Americans to live below the poverty line and about the same number to rely on food stamps to survive? When will something be done to deal with the great inequality of wealth and income that is creating a "have and have not" society that is a major contributing cause of our sluggish, contracting economy?

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That's a very long list of very serious conditions and problems that this nation faces but the question is; is there anyone in Washington D.C. who even cares? Why doesn't this Congress have a 5 or 10-year plan to deal with these problems? This country seems to be without a sense of purpose, it doesn't seem to know where it wants to go in the future, let alone how to get there. It is going around in circles, remaining in a state of confusion, not really growing, not advancing in any way, but actually regressing.

What is absolutely astounding is the fact that neither our government, nor our business sector is doing anything of substance to prepare for the future. Problems are not addressed and continue to remain unsolved. Crises come with no warnings or they are created due a lack of preventative measures. Our vision-deficient political slugs don't respond, they continue to vacillate and procrastinate and let problems fester and grow. The terms status quo, treading water, or stuck in a rut or quagmire seem to fit this situation very well. Want a beautiful illustration of this? Just watch John Boehner, Mitch McConnell and Harry Reid "in action" and listen to what they say and you'll know exactly why this is.

Instead of using our resources for positive, constructive endeavors we are using them for negative, destructive purposes such as these totally unjustified wars and the fabricated War on Terror. We are surrounded by shallow, negative thinkers at a time when we need positive, deep thinkers; we need problem solvers not problem creators; we need visionaries but we are stuck with politicians who have no concern or vision of the future. We need activists but, instead we have reactionaries and obstructionists.

America was once a role model for the world, using creativity and innovative thinking to achieve excellence in many varied endeavors. But when was the last time we as a nation did something that could be called revolutionary? Decades ago America's best minds created the calculator, the computer, put a man on the moon, and began space exploration. But since the birth and development of the internet what other major achievements have we seen? Nothing of any real significance. And, without question, the first 12 years of this 21st Century can accurately be referred to as America's lost decade; a low period in our history when nothing of any real value has taken place.

Let's be completely honest and admit that conditions in America are not only bad but they are, in fact, shameful. But what do we need to do to get out of this deep hole, this rut, this quagmire? What exactly should we be doing that what would represent a great achievement, something truly revolutionary? Is that some impossible dream? Absolutely not, in fact it's actually a no-brainer; that new revolutionary initiative is right there in front of our eyes even as this government and the business sector pretend that they can't see it.

It's the development of new sources of energy; for example, solar panels could capture the most powerful known source of energy -- the sun. It is there for the taking, it represents an infinite supply of energy for America and the entire world. Of course, developing its full potential would cost many billions of taxpayer dollars. But those billions would generate a great return on investment as contrasted to the hundreds of billions we are currently spending on war that returns nothing. The only way to harness that energy would be through the involvement of individuals that have the vision, creativity and drive leading to excellence. Capturing that energy would revolutionize the world and America could be at the forefront of the efforts.

Talk about a brilliant opportunity. If this government and the business sector teamed up to begin the development of new sources of energy it would signal the beginning of a new frontier, an energy revolution, a world shaking development. If America would use its resources in this positive way and make the development of new energy sources its #1 objective, it would lift America from its current lethargic state and transform it into a nation that would be standing on the cusp of one of the greatest achievements in world history. It would make NASA putting a man on the moon look like child's play; it would dwarf the development of the internet.

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Here is what new sources of energy, solar, wind, geothermal and others could do to make this a better, safer, more stable world. Its main benefit would come from significantly reducing this nation's and the world's dependence on petroleum which, in turn, would eliminate a host of associated problems. Over a period of time it would eliminate the increasing competition for securing oil between the world's industrialized nations. It would greatly reduce the potential for dangerous military conflicts and confrontations. The U.S. Navy could significantly reduce the hundreds of billions of dollars it spends on patrolling the world's oceans and shipping lanes; the incidence of regional wars over oil would eventually come to an end.

But what else would it do for America domestically? Again, over a period of time, the use of solar power and other forms of alternate energy would lessen the need to use natural gas and, thereby, would negate the need for fracking and all the negative aspects and dangers that are associated with that method of extraction. The need for pipelines would be reduced and they would eventually disappear as there would be no need for the transmission of oil across America by such methods as the highly controversial 1700 mile Keystone XL pipeline that is intended to transport up to 800,000 barrels per day of heavy tar-like oil from Canada across America and down to refineries on the Gulf Coast.

If this government and the petroleum industry had a better vision and could clearly see America's needs for the future, they could reap huge benefits in many different ways. By thinking much more deeply they could follow a plan by which petroleum would remain the primary energy source for the U.S. for some years to come. But there would also be an aggressive program to develop new forms of energy that would, in the short term, complement petroleum and, then in the longer term, replace it. If they used rational and creative thinking, the profits of the giant petroleum corporations would be maintained and later would grow exponentially.

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Michael Payne is an independent, progressive activist. His writings deal with social, economic, political and foreign policy issues. He is a featured writer on Opednews and Nation of Change and his articles have appeared on many other websites (more...)

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