OPINION – A Republican, a Democrat, and an Independent all walk into a bar. The bartender looks up and says, “Hello Mitt.”
Sadly, this election cycle has not fallen short of showing this little quip on the Republican candidate to be true. No one is really sure where this guy stands on anything. But perhaps they are not looking closely enough.
Maybe the key to understanding this curiously aloof man lies in the same associations his opponents maintain define the current president.
Jeremiah Wright was no picnic and Obama did well not to align himself publicly with the man but, regardless, he was cast in likeness by association alone – and there were others.
Turning the lens on Mitt reveals some associations he would rather not talk about as well.
Enter Harold Hamm, CEO of Continental Resources. The Oklahoma company has successfully drilled in the northern United States tapping the Bakken and Three Forks reservoirs and Hamm estimates, according to a recent article in Mother Jones, there is more oil there than has been produced in the rest of the United States combined.
Last March, Romney named Hamm his top energy adviser and aligned himself quite succinctly with the oil and gas industry, which stands in vast contradiction to his advocacy for clean power when he was governor of Massachusetts. So maybe, by association, we are getting some insight into the real Mitt after all.
But this is a side note in comparison to the real problem presented.
There has likely not been nor ever will be a president who does not have some corporate alliances pulling his puppet strings. It should not be this way and happy will be the day when Americans collectively realign our election process to a more intended democratic state.
That day is not today however.
The issue here is the gullibility of the American voter and case in point here is the notion of energy independence based upon oil production here in the states.
The mantra of energy independence and a weaning of dependence on foreign oil is premised in two things: One, drilling at home means we use our own energy supplies, and two, the supply is actually here to begin with.
Oil drilled in the states does not go into a storehouse for American use only. It is exported and traded on the global market to the highest bidder just like the rest of the oil drilled worldwide.
While it feels good to tell ourselves we can stand on our own with energy, the ugly truth of it is that those perpetuating this categorically false notion do so by pandering to a heightened sense of patriotism premised in an outright falsity.
It is a dangerous fallacy.
As for supply here in states, and worldwide for that matter, it would be wise to consider a fact right under our noses. A large portion of the oil and gas industry is dedicated to hydraulic fracturing for shale and tar sands as well as natural gas.
Fifty years ago, this technology was not out of reach for the industry, it was simply cost prohibitive, destructive, and not considered a viable option. Now it appears one of the only options.
Folks, they have picked all the low hanging fruit.
Depending on the source, it is generally accepted that peak production of crude oil worldwide was reached in the early seventies and we are now on the downside of the supply with it dwindling fast.
The only real viable option for energy independence, for energy worldwide for that matter, is to do the hard work of finding and developing alternative sources. Believe it or not, this choice is upon us and we can either be proactive, or wait until the choice is forced upon us.
Meantime, corporate tycoons like Hamm will continue to be on the payroll of presidents extracting every last dollar from the industry at the cost of our future both economically and ecologically.
With little to no forethought beyond the next four years let alone the next fifty, do we really think we will be better off after this election, regardless of who holds the torch?
Energy independence, as it is currently being pandered to the voting public, is a farce. And what to do with one who runs a campaign premised upon a farce?
See you out there.
Dallas Hyland is an opinion columnist. The opinions stated in this article are his and not representative of St. George News.
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