by John Brian Shannon
President Obama advertised that he would bring “Hope and Change” to the U.S.A. when he campaigned for president first time around and he did, in fact, bring about momentous change during his first term.
I know this, because in my area of specialty — earth-shaking change has occurred. Change that by some accounts, was too much to hope for in an entire lifetime!
Sometime after his 2009 inauguration, the 44th President of the United States laid out his (then-controversial) positions on energy, energy security and sustainable energy as they related to the United States.
In fact, he wrote me a letter back in March 2012 outlining his energy plans. It is a profound document and is available at: johnbrianshannon.com
At the time, these seemed like grand but unreachable goals. But not now — less than a year later! In hindsight, it is now obvious that President Obama had a strong, overriding vision of a self-sufficient and energy-secure America. For an overview, visit: The Biggest Energy Story of 2012
It is also enlightening to read the Reuters report on what the IEA has said about President Obama’s startlingly successful energy, energy security and sustainable energy policies: U.S. to overtake Saudi as top oil producer: IEA
“(Reuters) – The United States will overtake Saudi Arabia and Russia as the world’s top oil producer by 2017, the West’s energy agency said on Monday, predicting Washington will come very close to achieving a previously unthinkable energy self-sufficiency.” (Reuters excerpt)
President Obama promised positive change in America’s energy future — and he delivered unprecedented positive change! Energy industry experts are still reeling.
Which gives me hope.
Hope that with some cooperation from U.S. politicians and from America’s allies, this President and his administration can overcome the economic damage that has threatened the ongoing success story that is our Western society.
How to do that over the long term? And how to do it without throwing billions of dollars at temporary solutions and then ending up in a similar position 10 or 15 years later.
Many Americans and America’s well-wishers around the globe are unhappy with increasing inequality in the U.S.
Initially the U.S. became great on account of the opportunities to citizens (first) and immigrants (second) and its trading partners around the world (third). What built America was the hopes and aspirations of several generations who saw the opportunities offered to those who worked smart and hard, and who also invested their time and resources well.
Millions of people were self-incentivized to be productive, to contribute to the betterment of the nation and to add value to their lives and to their communities. Having the opportunity to succeed — allowed and created all of the success that citizens and trading partners of the U.S.A. have enjoyed over the past hundred years or more.
For those who can be honest about it, those opportunities have dissipated alarmingly in recent decades.
Rarely can one finish their education, begin a career at one level and years later, finish their career as a CEO or owner of a large and prosperous business. People have little upward mobility and for those born into poverty situations, the vast majority of them continue to live in poverty until they pass out of this world — no matter how great their work ethic.
This has been well-documented elsewhere, so I won’t go on about it at length here.
But if anything is going to help restore citizens faith in the American dream, and restore the faith well-wishers of the United States around the world, it will be a healthier and better-educated American society.
One of the best ways to improve peoples economic standing, (according the the UN and other organizations expert in governance and human development) are by society-wide improvements to health and education.
It needn’t cost a trillion dollars — but it does need direction.
The same sort of direction that President Obama used to take his country from a nation perilously addicted to foreign oil and turn it into an net exporter of oil and gas — in the process making it an almost energy self-sufficient nation and a nation on the forefront of sustainable energy worldwide. All accomplished during a time of unprecedented worldwide economic upheaval. By any standard, a monumental accomplishment! Congratulations are in order, Mr. President.
So, where are we now and what could we hope for?
An energy-secure America. Done. Check.
A uniformly healthy America. In progress, gaining momentum.
A uniform minimum education of ‘one-college-level-degree’ or ‘one-vocational-certification’ for all Americans. Let’s hope.
If this President’s first term accomplishments are remembered as making America energy secure combined with a well-begun universal health-care plan — then let us hope that his second term will be remembered by a “Done. Check.” on a uniformly healthy society and a college or vocational education plan for all American citizens — so that all citizens can become part of America’s overall economic success.
Good health, a good education and plenty of career opportunities for citizens, will thereby and effectively remove present inequality, restore the hope of opportunity for success to the American people and improve the nations economic health. These are not new ideas. These have worked before, and profoundly, are what made America great from its beginning.
Let’s restore the American Dream, but this time let it be a Sustainable American Dream and one that will work for all U.S. citizens — not just the wealthy.
JOHN BRIAN SHANNON
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