Inside the Capitol

Saturday, March 26, 2011

3-18 exceptionalism

FRI, 3-18-11

SANTA FE – America had better become accustomed to not being the world leader in every category that is important. American exceptionalism is just too much of a bother. It's just not the American way anymore.
During the first 200 years of our nation's growth, we were busy conquering frontiers, physical and scientific. No effort, no sacrifice was too great. We showed the world. And then we got comfortable.
Our attention turned to living the good life enjoying the fruits of our labors and the sacrifices of those who went before us. The discovery of oil beneath our lands made life even easier. We could kick back and relax.
Then people in other nations decided they wanted our lifestyle. The elec tronic communications systems we invented made the world flat, as they say, so other peoples of the world had equal access to our knowledge. And with great effort and sacrifice, they brought themselves up to our level. And then they kept going.
Read about Chinese moms and how they push their children to the breaking point to master a subject or talent. It is no fun until something is mastered, Then it is joyous. Most American youth will never know that joy. It takes too much work. It takes too much of their parents' time.
Another component of our world leadership was that we produced all the oil we needed. Now we buy most of it from countries with whom we are not very friendly. If they were to ever cut it off, our economy would tank.
Many alternatives can be developed. But every alternative is a bother. We could drill at home. But no one wants an oil well near them or a gas well. They don't want them near wildlife or scenic beauty. They don't want them off shore because a leak could harm fish or beaches.
Water power works well for generating energy but no one likes the transmission lines. There's always wind power but people don't want a windmill within sight. And solar collectors are ugly, especially if your neighbor puts one up.
Don't even bother talking about nuclear energy. We stopped that after the Three-Mile Island partial meltdown over 30 years ago while the rest of the world kept moving. The Japanese disaster will halt any plans we were making in that arena but the rest of the world will keep moving.
New Mexico has an abundance of nearly all these energy sources. We haven't even mentioned coal. Unfortunately we won't be able to take advantage for any of them for our economy because they're too bothersome. So is getting all New Mexicans connected to the Internet because of protests that WiFi puts something in the air that makes them sick.
Nearly all of us want a strong national defense. We also don't want to lose our air bases. But don't let Air Force pilots develop their skills anywhere near us because the occasional noise is unpleasant.
So there you have it. It is a recipe for the fall of the American empire. Is there any way to turn it around? Yes, but it will take a big change in the current American character. It means pulling together the polarized sides that determine current American politics.
It means finding a way to utilize a much greater percentage of our resources, with minimal impact on our environment and creature comforts. It means sitting down at a table and talking rather than firing away with television commercials and court suits.
Technology is improving. There may never be such a thing as clean energy but we should continue working toward it in every way possible. It means industry may not enjoy profits as big as it would like and it means that life may not be as enjoyable as we'd like.
At this point, bringing everyone together any time soon is only a dream. What will it take to make that dream come true?


Post a Comment

<< Home