Oct 152008
Authors: Caleb Thornton

Sitting in one of my classes last week, I found that the conversation had yet again turned to discussing the current election.

While I typically relish such conversations both because I love talking politics and because it makes class go by that much faster, I found this day to be different than most.

In place of my usual enthusiasm for such debates, only one thought came into my mind: “I can’t wait until this thing is over.”

If such thoughts are running through my head, a self-proclaimed political junkie, then I can only imagine what thoughts are going through the heads of you who were sick of this election six months or even a year ago.

But don’t worry, the end is near, and there are just under three weeks left until election day, after which you won’t have to hear or see the campaigning anymore — that is until February rolls around and it’s time to start up again for the 2010 elections.

But until that time comes, the show must go on, and again the issue this week is energy. We all know the problem — prices are too high, demand is high, supply is too low and we’re getting too much of our energy needs from countries that care as much about our well-being as Bill Clinton cares about whether or not Hillary is coming to bed.

To me, the solution is pretty simple — if we really want prices in this country to decrease, then we have two courses of action we can take:

1) Decrease demand by increasing alternative energy sources and fuel efficiency or:

2) Increase supply by making our own natural resources that are currently barred from production available for use.

Of course it comes as no surprise that both presidential candidates claim they wish to do just that with Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama’s stump speeches emphasizing alternative energy and fuel efficiency, and Republican candidate John McCain’s approach emphasizing the policy of, “drill here, drill now.”

However, if we look closely at the two candidates and what they are promising the American people you can find one very subtle, but important difference.

Obama shows absolutely no support for expanding drilling exploration for oil and natural gas within the U.S. where it is not already currently allowed; McCain shows quite the opposite resolve and has called repeatedly for the U.S. to lift the moratorium on drilling in the Outer Continental Shelf. Yes, alternative energy is good, and yes we do need to continue to move away from oil and natural gas, but the fact is that right now our country depends on both to function, and the idea that that is going to change over night with the development of alternative energy is completely absurd.

We absolutely must use the energy supplies that we have available to us here in the U.S. while we begin to move away from oil and gas.

Failure to do so not only puts our economy at risk, but puts our national security at risk as well.

Oh, and a quick point to both campaigns — it’s time to support drilling for oil in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Opposing such a measure because it is believed that we may hurt a couple of caribou is both false and ridiculous.

Maybe it is just me, but I don’t see the problem with drilling for oil in frozen arctic wasteland.

In the end, both candidates are promising just about the same thing, but it is Obama’s failure to support new areas of oil exploration that again puts him and the Democratic Party at odds with the real and pressing needs of the country.

But don’t worry, at least we know our caribou will be safe.

Caleb Thornton is a senior political science major. His column appears Thursdays in the Collegian. Letters and feedback can be sent to letters@collegian.com.

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