CRUDE ON THE COB

Certainly by now I am not the only one who has noticed the utter stupidity of current US energy policy. Of course, calling it ‘policy’ implies that someone has actually thought about it, which is perhaps giving a bit too much credit. Images of knees jerking come to mind.

Gas prices are soaring, the price of crude oil is soaring, and more than likely the incidents of hitherto unknown ‘pump rage’ will soon be soaring. Oh, and the oil sheiks across the pond are soaring off the moguls on their full-size, indoor ski slope, purchased with the profit from my driving to work and hauling rug rats to T-ball.

We are, at present, refusing to open up new oil fields for drilling and are making it as difficult as possible to open new refineries (to process Saudi oil) or build new nuclear plants. That big slurping sound you hear is China sucking the oil and natural gas from under the Gulf of Mexico. Soon our heads of state will not only be begging increased production from Kuwait, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, but also from the Chi-Coms. Jamaica was able to put together a bobsled team for the Winter Olympics: perhaps, they, too will soon be drilling our oil.

The response from alleged leaders is noticeably juvenile. Presumptive Republican presidential candidate John McCain recently opined that we should be developing power from wind and solar sources and from battery-operated-cars good for 100 miles before a plug-in. I was waiting breathlessly for him to suggest that we harness the power of twisted rubber bands, or juice up every gerbil exerciser in the country.

God gave us corn. God gave us oil. He did not give us Ethanol, and for a very good reason. Corn makes delicious foodstuffs: cornbread, fritters, muffins, tortillas, taco shells, and nachos. It is also crucial for agriculture, fattening our cows, pigs and chickens. Corn is good to eat. Oil, on the other hand, is good to burn. And to lubricate the moving parts of machines that burn it.

Yet, what is our stance toward these two, God-given resources? Leave the oil in the ground and put the corn in the car.

If we rely on this logic for too much longer, household exchanges might sound like this:

Boy: ‘Daddy, I sure am hungry. What’s for supper?’
Daddy: ‘Crude on the cob. Dip this dried up husk in some oil and suck on it.’

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