Despite news in the popular press and the stalled attempts at creating an energy policy in Washington, it is clear that this nation needs to get serious about how vulnerable we are because of our dependency on foreign crude oil products.
This is especially true since the majority of our transportation fuels come from global sources that, at best, are only tolerant of our existence. Clearly, our presence is allowed because we can, and do, continue to support their lifestyles, including their religious and political agendas. The recent shale oil and gas finds and the capabilities to extract those resources at an affordable price has potentially put us back in the driver's seat when it comes to doing what history has shown to be one of our best characteristics -- self-sufficiency.
Being self-sufficient is what made us the successful country we have become and what has driven us to be creative, to reward innovation, and to use energy to drive our social order forward. Plus, it is the same set of attributes the rest of the world will copy to reach our current standard of living.
Ultimately it will be these same basic elements, with a focus on sustainability, which will preserve our planet and push our personal growth into yet-to-be-identified goals and frontiers.
Currently we are significantly less than self-sufficient. We are constantly reminded that we need to pay the piper, highlighted in non-domestic energy costs, environmental impact, lost jobs and skill sets, and a lack of a directed motivation in our youth.
Contrary to all of the special interests and misinformed groups that oppose the use of U.S. based fuels, the time has come to wean ourselves away from this foreign bad habit. It may be hard to see but a decrease in this off-shore reliance will improve our trade deficit, enhance the value of the U.S. dollar, create a better diplomatic presence around the world and revitalize our country's economy. Plus, it will bring many of our troops home to their families.
Opportunities abound now that we are drilling and will soon offset our offshore energy purchases. While it is evident that the development of this fuel source will keep more of our money at home, this is but a small start to the self-sufficiency process. With retained money used to create new jobs there will be an increase in the tax base and a revitalization of all of the social programs and processes that are essential to our growing and diverse society.
Maybe of equal importance will be the innovative environment that will come from a re-invigorated venture pool and the encouragement that will be provided to our youth and our world-class innovators. Having a direction supported by a strong vision always stays the day. Our people will respond and our youth will become the generation that turns this country's economy and momentum around to what it was in our not-so-distant past.
What we need to realize, also, is that the rest of the world will see our self-sufficient change coming at least as soon as we see it and probably even before we recognize it. As the adage goes, "fish discover water last". Since we are in the thick of it, with all of the complexities that go with marshaling a change in our attitudes, outsiders will predict opportunities while we are still looking at the problems. While this may be great in the short run, allowing the world to capitalize on our opportunities will create lost opportunities for us.