In an extraordinary press conference yesterday introducing his energy/environmental team President-elect Barack Obama put forward his energy program. In doing so he conveyed a sense that finally our government-to-be was about to lead us out of our long and hapless wanderings in the desert of fossil fuel enslavement. That here was a vision, a conviction, and the will to topple once and for all our shameful and destructive dependence on oil, to end once and for all our dependence on fossil fuels, period, whether priced high or low. To quote the President-elect "It will be a priority of my presidency."
The language, the presentation was exactly what was needed, what many in this nation were waiting for these last eight years, and beyond. It was a call to arms from the bully pulpit which was used brilliantly vesting the declamation with a shared sense of mission under a leadership that was determined, forthright and totally engaged in this issue.
Words that previously risked becoming vacuous shibboleths such as "new energy frontier", "environmental quality", "transforming our economy", "ending our dependence on hostile regimes", "...in the face of opposition from special interests", "challenge of climate change", "new energy economy", "based on renewable resources", "turning to wind, solar, and agriculture", "there is not a contradiction between economic growth and sound environmental practices", all took on an entirely new and ringing dimension,
"This will be our mission", "this will be our guiding purpose" "this time must be different", "we cannot fail". On this issue with its existential dimension for the future of the nation and the planet, perhaps, just perhaps we have found our modern slimmed down version of Winston Churchill. We wish him well. We pray for his success.