03 April 2007

The Trouble with Political Pronouncements

Martin Frost, a former democratic congressman to the U.S. House of Representatives, wrote the following in a Foxnews.com editorial about energy independence: "Like so many other Bush pronouncements, it turned out to be a statement made for political expediency with no substance or commitment behind it."

Newsflash: ninety nine percent of all political pronouncements, from both democrats and republicans, are politically expedient with no substance or commitment behind them. I have the utmost contempt for the politicians in Washington, D.C. who find it easy to promise so much and deliver on so little of substance. They play their little game with the future of the United States hanging in the balance. If there is pork to be had then everything is easy, but to actually address a real problem like energy independence or the burgeoning national debt or the unfunded trillions in Medicare and social security liabilities the politicians are strangely noncommittal and provide us with nothing but political expediency. No one wants to present the very tough and unpopular decisions needed to address these problems because they fear for their chances of re-election. All the solutions require sacrifices**: cuts in spending, cuts in benefits, and an increase in taxes - that is the truth, you have to have all three - there is no hiding from that reality. Who is willing to go to the American people and present that? Who is willing to look their campaign bankrollers in the eye and say the trough is closed? And if you do present a proposal like that you are shot down. The only thing you hear from the talking heads is criticism, nothing constructive whatsoever. Each of the key issues above needs to be addressed soon otherwise we will saddle our children and grandchildren with an enormous burden. I just do not see anyone in Washington, D.C. that cares about America. I think they care more about ensuring their party benefits and stays in power. I have found that they are all talk. Pretty speeches and flowery rhetoric does not solve problems. And I do not think I am alone in America in thinking this way.

You can think what you may, but I am as cynical as I have ever been about our elected officials and their chances of finding a "consensus" on any issue. Let's just look at becoming energy independent. It will take nuclear power. It will take new coal power plants with carbon sequestering. It will take coal to oil. It will take more wind and solar power. It will take more drilling in areas like ANWR. It will take more fuel efficient vehicles. It will take higher gas taxes to encourage a reduction in consumption. It will take significant investment in renewable technology. It will take more than just biofuels (never mind that we are taking land away from food production for energy production). It will take a change in mindset. It would not take much to convince me to change, because I know what is at stake. You need someone that has a grasp of how to convince everyone else including the anti-nuclear crowd, the auto manufacturers, the oil companies, and the citizens of this country. You need someone that can convince the left that this is a responsible way to become energy independent and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. You need someone that can also convince the right that this is a reasonable way to get us out of the Middle East and other areas run by despots. In the present political climate I do not see anyone that has the ability to unify people to make the changes necessary and that is a sad commentary on our society as a whole.

**Sacrifice is not in the American dictionary anymore. It is a word that is fading fast with the greatest generation. Our society has become fat and lazy. And so have our politicians.

Photo by KCThinker, sugar cane loading appartus, March 2007

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