This I Believe

Nicholas - Ann Arbor, Michigan
Entered on September 27, 2007

This I believe

I can not cleanse my hands of this bloody war. I wash with the Anti-War Resolution I wrote in Hawaii. I wash with a hundred letters to my Senators and Congressmen, to President Bush. I wash with the Vote and with political donations. I wash with my studies in public policy school. I wash with belief in Martin and in Ghandi, with a hope-filled Rorscheblack I insist is Barack…and always, always, I will wash with advocacy for the end of oil.

I believe that the United States of America should immediately begin a great project to develop clean and renewable energy. This project should be equal in scale, scope, and funding to the war on terror; one that recalls the commitments of the great projects of America’s past: Manhattan, Apollo, the federal highway system.

I believe that removing the oil lens through which almost every American Foreign policy decision is viewed is the great moral issue of our time.

I believe that even U.S. Peacemakers have been forced to view the world through this lens. In President Jimmy Carter’s 1980 State of the Union Speech he said, “Let our position be absolutely clear: An attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America, and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force.”

When I sit in a coffee shop in Ann Arbor or scream my head off with 112,000 in the Big House it is hard to miss the absurd contrast between my daily life and those serving in Iraq. The guilt is real; though intermittent, it shares time with anger at those who compelled these emotions unto me, those who changed my America.

A few nights ago it was warm and clear in Detroit, only a light smog hazing the luminescent moon and downtown lights. I walked the streets surrounding Tigers Stadium after the game, reacquainting myself with a place that had changed much since my childhood. On this short walk I came upon some 3,800 white tombstone replica’s put there by the Arlington Midwest Project. I watched a group of young adults about my age walk through the park, they were laughing and smiling, happy after baseball and with friends. I did not see them glance at the white markers around them. I wasn’t surprised and couldn’t blame them.

My walk continued and I overheard three elderly men discussing the memorial. They repeated the numbers of the dead. One asked, “What can you do?” “You can’t do anything. You just have to live your own life the best you can.” Another responded.

I believe that that every single dollar spent on a national project to end America’s consumption of oil will be returned with interest from the tax revenue generated by new products and services, new business and industries, and the avoided costs of improved health and a cleaner environment.

Yet, none of this compares to the greatest returns: The sober minds of a more secure America, the happiness of families together…The blood of innocents, the blood of our friends and relatives, the blood of our sons and daughters.