Five things are certain about solar panels going back on the White House roof:
They won't generate nuclear waste;
They won't be targets for terrorists hoping cause an atomic holocaust;
They'll be working many years before any new atomic reactor could be built;
They'll deliver usable heat and electricity far more cheaply than new nuclear plants;
They'll make the US that much freer from the oil addiction that fuels our disastrous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.
The great unknown: could these panels fuel Team Obama with the courage to confront the nuclear power industry and military madness now destroying our economy.
These new panels go far beyond what Jimmy Carter installed and then Ronald Reagan tore down. Carter's $30,000 rig was installed in 1979 to heat water, which it did.
Reagan's tear down was part of his assault on the green power industry on behalf of big oil and nuclear power.
We at Greenpeace marched with many others in 1991, at the launch of the first Gulf War, demanding George H.W. Bush reinstall the panels. He wouldn't.
We asked the same of Bill Clinton. He wouldn't either.
George W. Bush did quietly install some solar features on the White House.
After a first refusal, Obama says he'll now re-instate solar water heating to the White House roof, AND will add photo-voltaic cells that will generate electricity.
Team Obama is clearly responding to the anger of the Democratic base. Those who worked to put them in the White House want it green.
This includes ferocious opposition to atomic energy. The administration recently granted $8.33 billion in loan guarantees for a disastrous double-reactor scam in Georgia. Barely underway, the project has already resulted in $100 million in hikes for the state's
ratepayers. The builders are now asking for an extra $1 billion. Horrific delays and cost overruns have already defined new reactor construction in Finland, France and elsewhere.
But Steven Chu's Department of Energy may be poised to grant yet another set of guarantees for yet another disastrous reactor project in Maryland, Texas or South Carolina. And the administration has been supporting moves in Congress to vote in still more money for a failed technology which is efficient and reliable only in wasting billions of taxpayer and rate payer dollars.
Maybe the new solar panels will zap some green sense into Obama's energy planners.
Likewise the military. Obama's magic moment was when he "evaluated"
escalating the war in Afghanistan.
Despite weeks of deliberations, he met only with "experts" in suits and uniforms. He never talked with his once-ardent and hopeful supporters in the movements for peace, justice and environmental preservation.
Now we read, from Bob Woodward and others, that the generals refused to even provide the President with the exit strategy he requested.
Who is running this country? The civilians or the military?
Obama's decision to escalate drained his supporters of hope and trust. And it robbed us all of the budgetary options essential to rebuilding our economy and employment picture.
The Democrats have stumbled into the mid-term elections void of a vision that can excite our nation with real hope for an economic turn- around. Restoring solar power to the White House may be the first tiny step toward the green-powered future necessary to our survival.
Next must come the definitive turn away from the failure of atomic power. Imagine what a magnificent green-powered Earth we might inhabit had we not squandered all those billions on that profoundly dangerous, disastrously expensive technology.
And then we need a full, comprehensive and fearless national evaluation of the gargantuan military budget that is draining our nation of its moral and fiscal core. Imagine what Obama's Nobel Prize speech---and mid-term election prospects--- might resemble if he had begun that process instead of caving in to the military in Aghanistan, now such a clear failure.
We've been three decades fighting to get those solar panels restored to the White House roof. It finally appears we may have won that one.
Now comes the nuclear-military madness.
It's a big mountain to climb---but so was electing this guy in the first place.
Our survival depends on it....so let the light shine in!!!
Free Press Senior Editor and "Superpower of Peace" columnist Harvey Wasserman is author or co-author of a dozen books including SOLARTOPIA! Our Green-Powered Earth, A.D. 2030; Harvey Wasserman's History of the U.S.; and, A Glimpse of the Big Light: Losing Parents, Finding Spirit.
With Bob Fitrakis, Harvey has helped expose the theft of the presidency. Their freepress.org coverage has prompted Rev. Jesse Jackson to call them "the Woodward and Bernstein of the 2004 election." Their books include How the GOP Stole America's 2004 Election & Is Rigging 2008, and What Happened in Ohio?, coming soon from the New Press.
Harvey's widespread appearances throughout the major media and at campuses and citizen gatherings have focussed since the 1960s on energy, environment, peace, justice, U.S. history and election protection.