And Now... The Blame Game!
Americans think the Canadians did it. Canadians think the Americans did it. Many think terrorists did it. Some claim it was an “act of God,” a lightning strike. And then there are those Democrats who are stridently blaming the “Bush Administration.”
As millions fumbled around in the dark from Ottawa to New Jersey, and from Detroit to Cleveland, the common theme was “how could this have happened?”
What happened was a sudden domino effect, as power grids all over the northeastern US and southeastern Canada tripped off, plunging millions into the dark.
Dozens of aircraft on approach control into New York’s Kennedy, La Guardia, or airports in Ottawa, Detroit and Cleveland, suddenly found the airport electronic equipment inoperative until emergency generators could pick up the load. Miraculously, aircraft on final approach whose pilots suddenly saw runway lights disappear did not collide, as dozens of them scrambled to make some order out of chaos, seeking safe altitudes.
Hundreds of thousands were suddenly stuck in pitch-black subways; stuck in elevators; plunged into the dark in stores and restaurants. A surrealistic atmosphere prevailed as New York skyscrapers loomed black against the sky; Gotham gone blind; the “Big Apple” noted for its blazing lights and neon displays looking like a deserted city.
Millions were totally unprepared. Yet, for all the potential for injury and death, for massive looting and crime, the good news was that most people responded rationally. People were forced to slowly walk out of subway tunnels; sit quietly in elevators for many hours, waiting for rescue.
Such a huge blackout underscores the spoiled, selfish, take-it-for-granted attitude of millions of Americans. Many years ago, when Ronald Reagan was Governor of California, I attended the Governor’s Conference on Pollution conducted in Los Angeles.
The President of the Southern California Edison company addressed the crowd about the impact of burgeoning populations; huge urban sprawl, and increased energy demands.
His opening remarks were, “Be it ever so humble — there is no place...”
He then proceeded to recite the desperate need for more power plants; more nuclear energy; more transformers; more high power electrical lines; more technology to deliver the needed electricity to the consumers; to police and fire stations, to hospitals and clinics, to schools and private homes.
He began citing all the protests; the petitions; the mass meetings; the demonstrations — how, whenever SoCalEdison wanted to put in a new plant, the neighborhoods said, “You can’t put those big smoke stacks here!” Or, “We don’t want that nuclear plant anywhere near us!”
His point was, there was “no place” in the entire region where the energy-hungry populace would tolerate the plants which produced the energy they demanded! Catch 22. They had to have the energy, but they refused to sacrifice their view in order to allow the plant to be built.
Now, liberal Democrats are shrieking “The Bush Administration’s failed energy policy is to blame!” Yet, the general population, incensed at rising energy costs, has demanded of government that the energy companies be closely regulated. As a result, they operate at levels which allow little money for revamping aging equipment, developing new plants, replacing old, outdated power grids.
The Democrats would be better served to look back to the Clinton administration, which was in power for eight long years, and which contributed so heavily to illegal immigration, which helped impact many of the big cities in the east with higher density populations.
I was in New York back in the 1970’s when a blackout took place, and remember well how shocked everyone was. Then, the blackout was much more contained, and did not last long, but it served (or should have served) as a “wake up” call to officials as to what could happen.
Surely, if the big blackout of 2003 proves not to have been a terrorist act, it nevertheless sends a powerful message to terrorists. Now, more than ever, they know where to hit us.
It should also have served as a “dress rehearsal” for all the authorities; for those in communications, transportation, law enforcement; those in airports, schools and hospitals, as well as private citizens. Perhaps it did. In many ways, it is a good thing it happened.
Instead of pointing fingers of blame, political opportunists would be better served spending their time looking for solutions. The more they attempt to make political hay out of such a serious blow to the country, the more they display their cynical, hateful, narrow desperation in their search for lost political power.
Which one of them introduced legislation within the past three years aimed at revamping America’s aging energy supply system?
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