Washington, D.C. -- That the winner of the Automotive X Prize, Team Edison 2, would have built their 102 mpg vehicle in Lynchburg, Virginia? For that matter, who would have thought that the winning entry would be powered by gasoline, not electricity, and made of steel and aluminum, not high tech composite fibers?
But perhaps more thrilling to me than watching the award-winning car was the ad hoc opening remarks of Oliver Kuttner, the winning team leader, who gave in three minutes one of the most compelling summaries of what we need to do to restore the American dream.
Kuttner eloquently explains the risks Lynchburg, and America, face if lose our manufacturing capability--the skill of our hands. I urge you to listen to his words.
But if you can't, here are some of the most important words:
"As a nation we face the risk of losing some of those people who can realize the dream. It is imperative that we change the course of this nation.... The world needs to accept that fact that we need to get over partisanship. The world needs to push for innovation....We have received tremendous inspiration from the fact that we have a government and people of both parties who see science as the most important thing..The fact that Congressman Perriello visited us many times has been a voice of inspiration. There is an electricity in the country..."
Kuttner is a real estate developer in real life. But for me he is 2010's inspiration.
Kuttner's words are such a jarring contrast to the debased political dialogue that has taken over this year's mid-term elections, highlighted by Tuesday's primary results and the coverage that led up to them, that I have listened to them repeatedly to reassure myself that the America that I lived in only a short time ago is still alive, in an engineering team in Lynchburg.