America's Death Wish

I give up.

I don’t know what to say.

How does one begin to explain what happened this week in Washington?

America must have a death wish.

A week ago, in case you missed it, the House of Representatives postponed a vote on opening 8 million acres in the Gulf of Mexico to oil and gas drilling. It seems doubtful the bill, already approved by the U.S. Senate, will ever be approved by the incoming Democratic-controlled Congress.

So why am I wringing my hands? Why am I gnashing my teeth? What’s the big deal about offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico? I’ll tell you what the big deal is.

Geologists say the Gulf of Mexico may well contain oil reserves bigger than those of the Middle East. That’s right. Right here in our own backyard, the United States has access to enough oil to make it energy independent.

But the U.S. Congress, five years after Sept. 11, 2001, still can’t decide to pull the trigger on energy independence. Our leaders in Washington prefer to subsidize our enemies through the purchase of foreign oil.

Can you imagine a higher priority for our country than energy independence? It would be the right thing to do if we weren’t at war with a diabolical enemy that has promised to attack us again and again as long as we exist as the United States of America. But achieving energy independence would not only be a national security coup for us, it would be a huge blow for our enemy.

So what happened last week? Republicans postponed a vote because they were afraid they would not get the necessary two-thirds support.

"The House will revisit the offshore drilling legislation again at some point before the end of this week, though details on the mechanics of how the measure will be considered have yet to be decided," Kevin Madden, a spokesman for Majority Leader John Boehner, said in a statement.

Maybe so, but I’m not optimistic. If a bill this important can’t get approval with a majority of Republicans in both houses, what chance does it have when the Democrats take over?

There are precious few things the federal government is supposed to do under our Constitution. One of them — the most important — is to provide for the defense of the country. In times like these, that means ensuring that we as a nation are not reliant on our enemies for the necessities of life. Oil is the lifeblood of an industrial society and even more critical to a war machine.

Yet, our elected officials can’t even agree that offshore oil drilling is preferable to the destruction of our very way of life.

That’s what it comes down to — either that or they just don’t believe the people who brought down the World Trade Center and attacked the Pentagon are not through with us.

I wonder if it were put to a vote of the general population whether Americans at large would be equally flummoxed. It’s hard to know. I truly believe Americans are losing their ability to discern right from wrong. When people stop believing in God, they start believing in anything. When they stop believing in truth, they start believing in any lie that comes their way.

That’s why I suggest America has a death wish. It’s not just the Congress. It’s not just the president. It’s not just the Supreme Court. It’s not just the government. It’s corporate America. It’s consumer America, too.

One of these days, we’re going to wake up and everything will be changed — everything will be different. It will be like Sept. 11 again, but permanent. We won’t be able to go back to the way we were.

And then, maybe, Americans will rue the day their Congress couldn’t agree to make America, the land of the free and the home of the brave, energy independent. Maybe then we will regret giving our enemies the rope they use to hang us.