During one of my recent Google News searches, I came across this article. For a long time I have known that America is in debt, but not to the degree that this article illustrates. There was a time in this country when we provided for ourselves, when we grew our own food, kept our people employed and had a true sense of freedom. I know our past wasn’t perfect either; the decimation of the Native populations, the shameful period of slavery, unfair treatment of women, reckless use of our Natural Resources, and the lost opportunity to be the truly great country we could have been.
When a country is in debt they cannot live up to their full potential. Their jails are filled to the brim, their natural resources our squandered, unemployment rates rise, depression and drug use spreads like an infection, they pave over their best farm land, and enslave themselves to video games and television.
These are the symptoms of a nation that is in decline. A nation in debt cannot provide for itself. A nation that relies on money from foreign governments to pay the bills and make payroll will not be able to sustain itself. A nation that cuts down it’s forests will no longer have a home. A nation that pollutes it’s water with industrial effluent will no longer be able to drink. A nation that clouds the skies with smog and poison will no longer be able to breathe. A nation that has built suburban subdivisions on it’s best farm land will no longer be able to feed itself. A nation that no longer produces its own useful goods and products will have a disgruntled work force. A nation that relies on war for a sense of purpose and pride will eventually be defeated. A nation that considers money god, will eventually go broke and fail.
In the coming years of Peak Oil, some of these wrongs may start to be righted, but it will be a long uphill battle. We have many wounds to heal and many gardens to plant. The way we live in our communities will have to change. The way we think about and grow our food will have to change. The work we choose to do may actually start to have some meaning again. We will have to trade our convenience for physical work and activity, but we might find a new enjoyment of life free of the TV’s and computers. We have along way to go, but I am confident that we can walk this new road and thrive in the post-oil age. I want to end with one of my favorite songs, “Power and Glory”, written by Phil Oachs back in the hey-day of protest folk music:
C’mon and take a walk with me through this green and growin’ land, Walk through the meadows and the mountains and the sand, Walk through the valley and the rivers and the plains, Walk through the sun and walk thru the rain
Here’s a land full of power and glory, Beauty that words cannot recall, Oh her power shall rest on the strength of her freedom, Her glory shall rest on us all
From Colorado, Kansas and the Carolinas too, Virginia and Alaska, from the old to the new, Texas and Ohio and the California shore, Tell me who could ask for more?
Yet she’s only as rich as the poorest of the poor, Only as free as a padlocked prison door, Only as strong as our love for this land, Only as tall as we stand