10.15.2013 | printed in the Summer 2013 issue of VITAL magazine
Earlier this summer, we celebrated the adoption of our Declaration of Independence. Through friends, family, fireworks and celebration, I hope you took the time to remember the impact of activists such as Thomas Paine. Our Founding Fathers, the ones who gave us the rights and liberties we so cherish today, showed immense courage and determination to do what was right. Their ambition and suffering provided freedom for future generations – all of this under the penalty of death if they were caught.
We could sit back and enjoy the freedoms and liberties we have now and not worry about protecting them. We really could. But my concern is for future generations. Though not as extreme as Patrick Henry’s demand to “Give Me Liberty or Give Me Death,” action will be required on our part. It is our responsibility to preserve and improve our freedoms for future generations.
When our founding fathers fought for freedom over 200 years ago, it was so our country could be self-reliant and free from tyranny. But, our addiction to oil has caused us to depend on foreign nations yet again. These brave men of Paine’s era fought and died to bring a better future to our country. But then, as today, not everyone wanted change. Many supported the status quo and due to greed or fear disagreed with the vision of the Founding Fathers. Much the same today, a change in our energy supply threatens other entrenched industries and oil exporting countries. But, like the Founding Fathers, our vision is strong. It’s our turn to fight!
Instead of guns and torches, this time our opponents carry billions of dollars from the spoils of oil. Our battles are fought with multi-million dollar ad campaigns and national news interviews. Conflicts and public opinion are won in internet comments and Facebook posts. Battlegrounds have changed, but the risks and victories of this war may be just as important. With a world addicted to millions of barrels of oil, the ability of oilproducing countries to control the future freedoms of our nation may be just as dire as the risks our forefathers saw so many years ago.
We need a strong frontline of support; soldiers who understand the significance of homegrown energy and a healthy rural economy that are ready to stand up for protecting America. Our voice and our truths are our weapons. And the more soldiers we have behind us, the stronger our voice becomes. Just as our nation’s people in the 1700s did what was right, I truly hope our generation will do the same.
It won’t be an easy fight. But just as Thomas Paine said, we will “undergo the fatigue of supporting it.” Because we know that the blessings of being free from the strong arm of oil countries is something our country, our children and our grandchildren desperately need. Our vision is strong – an energy-independent future is within our reach. And we won’t stop fighting until we get there.
Other Stories in this collection:
In Sight: The Blessings of Freedom
by Jeff Broin, Executive Chairman and Founder of POET