Upstate New York Landowner Shale Gas Activist
Vic Furman talks about American pride, our natural resources and what happens when we lose faith in our values and the power of innovation and technology.
I remember when freedom meant so much to the individual American that to speak against it would label you a communist sympathizer.
Today, I ask myself what has happened to American pride?
Being in foreign countries as a young soldier in the USARMY I saw first hand how an oppressed people under socialistic rule lived, starved, and died. I saw an unwanted child thrown out of a village and left to beg for survival. I saw the poor of another village washing their laundry in filthy drainage gutters.
I have been to countries where socialism is law and watched as people waited days to see doctors and ended up seeing only what’s our equivalent to an LPN. I worked as a missionary for six months in South Korea at the Suwon Prison outside of Seoul where people were sentenced for 25 years for speaking against their government, serving their time in filth and being fed barely enough to keep them alive.
I also remember and have always remembered where I came from — Binghamton, New York and the Triple Cities region. It was the Valley of Opportunity, home to Endicott-Johnson, IBM, Singer Link, General Electric and so many more factories that gave me, as a child, hope to have the future I was eventually afforded.I can still remember the words at my church (Main Street Baptist where I was baptized into my faith). Week after week, the talk of prosperity came with the lecture of how lucky we were to be living in an area where their were more jobs then people. But, oh how times have changed.
People whose families made fortunes investing in IBM, GE and the like became millionaires. Our Valley of Opportunity was once listed as having relatively more millionaires than any other region of the state because of the opportunities here. But age has taken the young, our fathers have become dust and their children, having inherited the fruits of their elders’ labor have left for better opportunities elsewhere or rested on the preceding generation’s laurels.
We must understand nothing is as pleasurable to a farmer then sustaining the life of his family and consuming the food that he himself has toiled to produce and knowing it. What is lost through inheritance is that sense of pride and accomplishment, for wealth handed to you is not as rewarding as wealth earned, just as a tomato from the garden is always better then the store-bought one.
The loss of the factories caused many to succumb to allure of living off our fathers’ wealth and depend on government subsidies. The shut downs of the 1970s and 1980s, one after another, took the jobs, population dwindled and ever greater reliance on government weakened our morals and sense of patriotism. It led some of us into a life of fear and doubt.
Finally, I remember American pride. Who can forget Kennedy’s “Ask not what your country can do for you but, rather, ask what you can do for your country” or Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech? How can we forget, as students, almost 50+ years ago, gathering around the black and white TV and watching man’s first step onto the Moon? Now, we read a movie commemorating the event will not show what the first thing Neil Armstrong did—plant an American flag. What is so wrong with our culture that we’re embarrassed to brag about America? Where is our American pride?
We believed in America and we loved her. We were yet a young nation in our minds, leading all others in Industry, freedom and respect. What happened? How have we gone from a nation that harnessed nuclear energy, created mass transit, cured diseases, extended life expectancy by multiples, split the atom, and found the nucleus of life?
How did we lose the faith in ourselves, leading to mother against son, father against daughter and neighbor against neighbor divides on so many different issues? Can we not face the truth without destroying everything? Is there really nothing that we can’t sit down and reason about? It seems so.
Today, we are told obtaining the very fuel from the earth that made America great by powering our nation’s growth, should be left it in the ground. We are self-righteously informed we are killing ourselves even though we have been retrieving those same fossil fuels from the Earth for over 150 years. Sadly and disregarding science, many people believe it. In fact, junk scientist advocates are producing propaganda and posting it as “peer reviewed” science because the label “peer reviewed” has a reverence left over from before you could buy it.
I am old fashioned, I guess, because I still have American pride and believe in our ability to drill into the earth and claim the resources it offers. I believe God gave us the resources to use because he knew we would. How could we tame winters without fossil fuels? What would life be like in Florida, or any warm climate, if Ohio, Boston, Maine, Chicago, NYC, and so many more Northeastern cold climate populations in the US and Canada had to move south?
Innovation and technology don’t just apply to your smart phones made possible by fossil fuels. Innovation and continued technology also apply to harvesting crops that feed a world thanks to fossil fuels. They have delivered us long live lived in comfort, and we have a right to them. We cannot allow ourselves to be stopped at some door of doubt based on irrational fears because if we do, the world will leave us behind.