I had a dream and it was a doozy. George Bush and Barack Obama were picking teams for a game of basketball. I was nervously lined up hoping not to be chosen by the wrong guy. Jesus and Buddha and Mohammed and Gandhi were there, and Milton Friedman, Karl Rove and Dick Cheney too.
The new President raised an arm and pointed his finger in my direction. “Tony get over here, you’re playing on my team.”
I couldn’t believe it! ‘But Mr. President, you could have picked Jesus for God’s sake. He makes every shot he takes.”
“Tony, he whispered to me, ‘Jesus just doesn’t have the urge to thrash these Bushies, blessed are the meek and all that, and the other guys aren’t too interested in winning or losing. Me, I didn’t come all this way to finish second, so let’s kick some Bush butt, OK?”
Well the Bush team couldn’t keep up with us and soon ran out of gas. I kept trying to get the ball to President Obama, who had a much better shot than mine, but he kept passing it back for me to shoot, saying things like, ‘Tony it’s not about me, it’s about you!”, and Tony our stories may be singular, but our destinies are shared.”
So after the game we were all gathered down at the local watering hole for a pint and I had a chance to get in a few words with the President. I asked if he had some room on his new economic team, reminded him I had a degree in economics, and asked him if I could share a few ideas I had.
“Sure Tony, hope they’re not as bad as your shot”, he said laughing.
“Thanks Mr. President. Well, uh, I know you’ve identified energy independence as your administration’s top strategic problem to address, and that you’ve talked about creating six million jobs in a new clean energy economy, and, uh, I know you’ve hardly got any money to throw at this kind of green shift, and I hope you get eight years not four because this might take awhile.” Now I was babbling, it was time to get to the point.
He raised an eyebrow. “Tony you Canadians haven’t exactly taken the lead on this, have you” Maybe you should curb your own emissions before you come talking to me about ours.”
Properly chastised, I summoned the courage to continue. “Yes sir, you’re right Mr. President, but I want to play for your team. Here’s what I was thinking. How about canning all those missile shields that are getting the Russians so upset, and eliminate that ten billion a month you’re spending in Iraq, and cut back on some of the new fighter aircraft and weapons programs, and spend that money on clean energy solutions instead.”
He was getting up to leave now. “Tony I’m two steps ahead of you on this. But do you have any idea how many enemies I’m going to make in the process? We can’t just close all the military contractor’s factories, let the carmakers die, stop drilling for oil, and transform our economy overnight.”
“But I’ll let you in on something”, he continued, I believe that if our military-industrial complex is talented enough to turn out the smartest weapons, and the most powerful turbines, and the most technologically advanced control systems, then this kind of knowledge infrastructure can be used to retool those factories to build tidal turbines instead of jet turbines, or solar systems instead of guided weapons systems, or blades for windmills instead of bayonets.
“Mr. President that’s just what I was thinking! So can we talk about this after next week’s game?” I chased after him as he began to disappear out the door.
He took a moment to turn back to me and say, “Tony I’m not sure I want you on my basketball team next week. You’re shot is pretty atrocious. But I like your economic philosophies. Maybe we can find a spot for you as a Junior Deputy Assistant Novice Policy something-or-other.”
I woke up with a smile on my face and after breakfast, ran down to the gym to work on my shot.