Along with 30 other Americans last night, I watched the first presidential debate between Obama and Romney. After it was all said and done, I was struck with several thoughts. The first was that the President would be well served to listen to this song continuously until the next debate. The second and much more important thought was that apparently I need a much longer beard.
Like all budding naturalists who grew up in the hills adjacent to the Appalachians, I am a huge fan of the work of JRR Tolkien. In fact, it will surprise absolutely none of you to know that I have in fact memorized large portions of both The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings. Anyway, the quote that springs to mind this morning is from Treebeard, who said, “I am not altogether on anybody’s side , because nobody is altogether on my side, if you understand me.” This is exactly how I felt after the debate last night, so I suppose that if I’m going to act like Treebeard, I might as well look the part.
Both candidates talked quite a bit, even if neither of them said very much. The one thing that surprised me the most however, was when Romney asserted that the President had spent 90 billion dollars on green energy. This is a number that I’ve not heard before and I wanted to know where he had gotten it. Even more interesting was that the President pretended that he hadn’t even spoken! When I run for the Oval Office in 2016 (WTF AMERICA? Campaign) and Candidate Romney (I’m assuming that he’ll be running again) challenges me on the appropriate level of spending on green energy, you can be sure that I’ll not duck the question.
“My only regret is that I have only 90 billion dollars to invest in green energy. Creating a cleaner, more independent, more democratic, and renewable future for our citizens while also creating American jobs is of the highest priority. Yes, I could invest in foreign oil schemes that contribute to geopolitical instability and suck money out of the pockets of our citizens, but I choose not to. Yes, I could invest in fantasies of “clean coal” while in the meanwhile thousands of hardworking people in the Appalachians see their health, homes, communities, and livelihoods destroyed by the short-sighted and greedy interests of big businesses, but I’m choosing a different future. I could even choose to invest in nuclear power, which is so expensive to make safe that practically no private investors will touch it, but in the end that’s just ducking the problem because nuclear fuels are also nonrenewable and toxic. Will I continue to spend every last penny we can afford to develop and improve green energy? Will I continue to support American made jobs and products that will exponentially strengthen our economy and improve our environment? Hell yes, I will.”
“We Ents do not like being roused; and we never are roused unless it is clear to us that our trees and our lives are in great danger.” Treebeard, indeed.