June 10, 2005
First of all, thanks very much for your tremendous hospitality during my recent visit. I spent almost two months visiting, talking, eating, sleeping, bike riding, eating, hiking, playing on the computer, eating.....Yah!
I got to see almost everybody: most importantly my mom, and dozens of friends in Washington State.
I also got my business done: I had a garage sale and disposed of half my stuff in my storage locker, and moved the remants into a smaller locker. I have a lot less "stuff" now and it feels good.
But enough about me. It's you I really want to talk about.
They say true friends are honest with each other; if there's a problem, real friends don't just let it slide under the carpet, they try to deal with things as they are.
So....America...I love you a lot. You have many wonderful qualities, and some great things going on: you're energetic, you have an enthusiastic "can-do" attitude, you like to have fun and, when it's convenient, share it with other people and nations; and you have a historic tradition of democracy that although ain't perfect, seems to be the best amongst the limited alternatives (thanks Winston Churchill for that concept.)
But I need to tell you that you have a problem. A big problem.
Your problem is petroleum: Oil, black gold, Texas tea, blood of the desert.
And the nature of your problem is that you're addicted to the stuff. You use it to drive to work, take the kids to school, run to Seven-Eleven for a six-pack; to run your riding lawnmower, heat your home, fly to Disneyland, generate electricity so you can light the office and power your air conditioner and watch TV and microwave dinner and make espresso and use your computer. But you use too much of it. You have five percent of the world's population, yet consume twenty-five percent of the world's petroleum and produce twenty-five percent of global carbon dioxide emissions. Using so much oil makes you fat and lazy and is melting the polar icecaps and destroying the atmosphere.
You're like the junkie who will do anything to get another fix: lie, cheat, steal, even murder. Actually, you're not LIKE the junkie who will do anything to get another fix, you ARE that junkie.
You lie every time you say you're being a responsible global citizen.
You cheat when you take the oil from around the globe and then sell that oil (especially at home) for big profits.
You steal that oil from other countries.
And you kill for your drug every day that you keep soldiers in Iraq, because it's clear that the reason for that war is to maintain strategic military control over the Middle East, the world's largest repository of your drug.
Every time you drive in your car you are adding to the unquenchable American thirst for petroleum that gives that slimy little weasel in the White House, and his filthy cronies, an excuse to rattle sabers at the whole world.
But there's also good news, you can get the help you need: get into Rehab. You have to do something about this problem because it's killing you, and the whole planet.
The solution is not about finding new oil fields, nor about discovering a magic replacement fuel (hydrogen fuel cells, ethanol, biodiesel, etc.) that will allow us all to continue driving as much as we want. What's needed is to driving less, a LOT less. For starters, get out of the damn car and ride the bus or your bicycle.
Please get yourself some help.
Still your friend,