Kokomo Tribune; Kokomo, Indiana

August 25, 2012

Energy and politics

By Ed Vasicek
For the Kokomo Tribune

— Emil, Elmer and I were chatting about the news. Those guys are avid news fans – nothing escapes their notice. They began talking about farming matters.

“Yep,” Emil began, “I have a few farmer friends; some of ’em got enough rain and they’re going to turn a good profit because of the drought, but others are losing their shirts.”

“Yes sir,” chimed Emil, “we’ll probably pay ridiculous prices at the grocery stores. Them big chains use any excuse to raise prices. I think they conspire together, like the oil companies.”

We just let Emil’s comments go. Elmer believes that everyone is sinister, and we were not about to change his mind.

“Look here,” added Emil, “I saw in the paper that some farmers up in Canada had a good idea: They contracted with their electric company to generate solar power. Ed, would you mind reading this article, but not in your preaching voice, please.”

“OK,” I offered. “This is from CBC news in Canada. It says, ‘Renfrew County farmer Michael Donohue expects about half of his usual corn crop this year. But beyond the field of parched and stunted corn stand nine towers of solar panels, capable of producing about 45 to 50 kilowatts. Each kilowatt hour sells back to the grid for 80 cents.’

“Donohue said, ‘When I installed that, it probably never crossed my mind that it was any sort of risk-management tool. But certainly I have commented this summer that if it’s not going to rain, at least the sun is shining and it’s making electricity …’”

“Maybe that’s the future, with this global warming. Farmers could protect themselves from years like this one with wind farms and solar panels,” added my upbeat friend, Emil.

Elmer opined, “This global warming comes from shooting all those missiles and rockets into the sky. Why, I think those supersonic jets crack up the atmosphere like crazy. You can hear it cracking when they go by.”

We moved on. “What else have you been reading, Emil?” I asked.

“Well, I see that the Republicans are accusing the Democrats of running a dirty campaign, and the Democrats are denying it and saying that the Republicans are running the dirty campaign.”

“I can’t believe it,” Elmer stated emphatically. “How could THIS be in the news? Can you guys remember any presidential election when things were different?”

“You know, Elmer,” I interjected, “lots of times you say stuff that is off the wall, at least in my opinion. And I just let it pass. But this time, you are right on. Bravo. Why IS this in the news?”

“Easy,” replied Emil, “slow news week. But I find this even stranger: People are watching the unemployment rate. They are saying that if the rate goes up, Obama is sunk. If it goes down, Romney is sunk. Do you think that’s the way it is?”

“Might be,” added Elmer. “Do you remember when it was George H. against Clinton? Desert Storm slowed down the recovery from that nasty recession; right after Clinton was elected, even before he was sworn in, the unemployment rate went down. People said if it would have gone down a month earlier, Bush would have won.”

“Yep, I guess Saddam got back at George H., didn’t he?” I added. “But I don’t know that this one is so simple. The whole gay marriage thing is in the arena, the deficit, unemployment, Obamacare. The war in Afghanistan. It’s complicated. Some people are for or against all those things; other people are for some of this and that.”

“Well, Ed, what would you do if somehow tomorrow you found yourself president of the United States?” inquired Elmer.

“I think I know what I would do. First thing is I would throw a big party and meet all the famous and important people I could. We’d have filet mignon, lobster and the works.”

“Well, what would be the second thing?” Elmer asked.

“Easy,” I replied. “I’d resign and let the vice president take over.”

• Ed Vasicek is pastor of Highland Park Church and a weekly contributor to the Kokomo Tribune. Contact him at edvasicek@att.net.