A column about history, culture, policy, and things in between.
While reading the news of President Bush's inept appeal to the House of Saud to increase its oil output, I was listening to an obscure Rolling Stones song called Sweet Black Angel, from the 1972 double-album Exile on Main Street. Recorded under surreal conditions, with the band mired in the downward spiral of guitarist Keith Richards' heroin addiction, the album remains one of the seminal works in all of rock. Angel is a tribute to the 1960's radical activist Angela Davis, and the lyrics include the "n" word - rightfully shocking in its raw and forbidden impact. The combination of the song and the news got me thinking about another "n" word that, unlike the one in the song, we should all be talking about.
The discussion of energy policy in this country is dysfunctional. Politicians who know nothing of economics blather about lower gas prices, trying desparately to believe they hold power over the law of supply and demand. Many others demand a decrease in carbon emissions, while others still remain steadfast in their refusal to allow exploration or drilling ANYWHERE in the United States, despite growing evidence of significant U.S. reserves. And of course EVERYONE wants to be less dependant on mid-East crude. Yet somehow this is all supposed to just happen of its sweet accord?!
It is time to bring the "n" word out of its long-standing banishment. It is time for us to come out of the energy closet, and join the rest of the world in the twentieth, much less the 21st Century. It is time to have a serious national debate about nuclear power.
It is certainly not the entire answer, but it has to be part of the discussion. How are we to even approximate any of the aforementioned goals without making this part of our policy debate?
I'll write in more detail on this subject soon.