My daughters have been after me to join Facebook for some time. A year ago, while still in the throes of writing my novel, I got a Facebook ID but could find very few members of my generation and my login sat essentially idle. Finally finishing the novel, I realized that the target audience for Deadly Freedom IS the Facebook Generation—and beyond, and that I was communicating across generations. What better way to continue this communication than Facebook.
Here’s why this is important to you: Every generation picks up where the last leaves off and inherits the state of the world at that point. My parents were called the “Greatest Generation” by Tom Brokaw and given that they grew up surviving the depression and still managed to win the last real war worth fighting, they probably deserve that title and will for some time. They left the “Baby Boomer” generation, mine, with a world that was in reasonably good order and with an economy that I and my “Baby Boomer” friends took advantage of. The end of World War II did leave us with the Cold War and they sent us off to fight in Viet Nam…seems every generation needs its war, even if it’s a mistake.
For our part, we Boomers had a good run for a long time. We brought you the PC, relational databases, the Internet, and Cell Phones. We had an economy that was booming and it looked like we were going to hand you a legacy on which you could build—until September 11, 2001.
9/11 was a pivotal moment. It exposed to us our vulnerability. It put a very fine point on how dependent we had become on oil imports from countries that were, ironically, willing to literally kill their own customers. We had quickly gone from globalizing individual companies, to a global economy, to a global society in which everything from jobs and crime could now cross international borders. It also gave us the opportunity to make the next great decision—how we would react to the 9/11 event.
At first we did the right and logical thing by going after Al Qaeda in Afghanistan. Then, when we should have been focusing on the root cause of the issues that were suddenly confronting us, namely our addiction to oil, we made what may turn out to be the biggest mistake in the history of Western Civilization—we invaded Iraq.
I assure you that I am not anti-war. We always need to be prepared to defend our country from real threats. I am, however, anti-mistake, and certainly anti-“not learning from our mistakes.” The Viet Nam war was a mistake. It cost us 50,000 citizens to realize that not every country needs to be a democracy. Democracies, like our own, need to be developed from the inside, and ours is a marvel of circumstances revolving around an alignment of genius at the right point and at the same time to make it come about. Our involvement in Viet Nam began in 1955 with our role as advisors. Between 1965 and 1975 we became active participants and at the end of those ten years we pulled out having lost 50,000 people. By 1995 we had restored diplomatic relations with the now-communist Viet Nam, and since 2005 they enjoy full economic relations with us and the West, recently hosting international beauty contests. So what was the point?
Invading Iraq became an obsession with an administration that was looking for a reason to do just that. If you’ve read my book, you may have picked up on this issue. They needed a reason and conveniently, one surfaced—or was made to surface. Weapons of Mass Destruction became our new bogey-man and our Texan president violated the “Make sure you’re right, then go ahead” philosophy of a real Texas hero, Davy Crockett, and invaded. So instead of facing the real issue, eliminating our dependence on oil, our oilman administration decided it was worth 4,000 lives and $12B a month to somehow protect our oil interests in the Middle East in an attempt to prolong our day of reckoning.
And of course, it’s done nothing but exacerbate our problems. You, the Facebook Generation, are now bearing the cost of our lack of leadership, and it’s going to get worse until we do something about it. You are the people doing the fighting and dying in Iraq. You are the people who will realize that our $12B per month expense for the war is being funded by the $12B we borrow monthly from China. You are the people who will be saddled with repaying that debt.
And the problems of terrorism, wars purported to defeat it, declining dollar and economy will continue until we face the real issue, eliminating our dependence on foreign oil. Doc Davidson and his team of researchers have an approach called an Electric Economy that will not only eliminate our oil imports and their carbon aftereffects, but will pay for itself and leave you with an exportable capability that will make you the Saudi Arabia of clean energy.
As for my generation, while we won’t be the Greatest Generation, it’s not too late to be great.
Enjoy the read. Remember, while the story is fiction, the science is not.