Keep America beautiful
By Marita K. Noon
I have a Pygmalion Complex.
Rooted in Greek mythology, the term "Pygmalion" was also the title of George Bernard Shaw's classic comedy. In the musical rendition, "My Fair Lady," the Henry Higgins character is a Pygmalion. He sensed Eliza Doolittle's potential, and felt compelled to develop it to its fullest – then fell in love with the "new woman" he had helped create.
For me, this Pygmalion Complex applies to America's raw potential – its raw, untapped natural resources. I feel they should be developed for the benefit of people and society, but always with great care for our scenic and environmental resources.
Over the holidays, I was visiting family. While at my eighty-year-old mother's, I did her make-up each morning. One day, my six-year-old niece was with us during the make-up session. She was fascinated.
Considerably younger than mine and much younger then I, her mother does not have to do much to develop her natural resources. So watching the make-up process was new to my niece.
As she sat watching, she asked, "What are you doing?" I explained that I was making Grammie look pretty. Little Lianna looked puzzled.
I asked her to look in the mirror. I pointed out her lovely long eyelashes. Then I asked her to look at Grammie's eye lashes. "She doesn't have any," Lianna exclaimed with awe.
"Ah, yes," I whispered to her, "Watch this." I whipped out the mascara wand and worked on my mother's eye lashes. Lianna's eyes got big, as she saw Grammie's eyelashes miraculously appear.
The process continued throughout the routine. Lianna noticed that her cheeks were naturally pink – but Grammie's were not. I explained that modern technology allowed Grammie to have pink cheeks, too. I told her how as we age, our natural resources are not so obvious – but, thanks to technology, we can still look young and beautiful.
More than a century ago, America was like my young niece. The natural resources were plentiful and obvious. Someone like Jed Clampet of The Beverly Hillbillies could shoot a critter for dinner, and discover oil: "Up through the ground comes the bubbling crude. Oil that is. Black gold." That's actually what basically did happen to James Miller Williams, who one day in 1858 was digging for water when crude came bubbling up from the ground.
That was then. This is now. The natural resources in America are no longer as easy to find. They don't just appear. But that doesn't mean they are no longer there. Like my mother, they just need a little more help than they did when our nation was young.
Fortunately, help is available. Just as my mother and I benefit from the wonders of modern technology, America's natural resources can be developed through human ingenuity and technology.
Mascara makes sparse eye lashes look lush. Modern technology allows oil to flow from old wells.
Blush makes mature checks rosy. Seismic and computer mapping makes discovering new fields a rosier prospect.
Treadmills keep our forms fit. New methods can extract resources with smaller footprints and less impact on the surrounding area.
Like girdles of the old days, Spanx makes our bottoms look better. Oil, gas, uranium, coal, cobalt, platinum, molybdenum, barite, potash, and other critical and strategic minerals – even timber and shale oil – could make help fix America's collective bottom line.
However, instead of developing our own natural resources, and realizing all their benefits, we are looking to other countries and paying them money that comes from the sweat of our brows, for what we already have sitting within our borders. Not only are we are still using the resources, we are going broke paying others for what we already have.
Using another country's natural resources is like living a fantasy, pretending we are the beautiful model on a magazine cover, rather than facing reality: we can use science and technology to truly be that model. Not developing our natural resources is like an average-looking woman choosing be an ugly duckling, instead of using modern science and technology to be a swan.
America the Beautiful has been admired by all. But due to restrictive policies, we are rapidly becoming an ugly duckling. Right now, Congress is debating proposals that will lock up still more resources, cost jobs and hurt our collective bottom line.
As the new administration is finding its footing, we the people, the citizens of America, have a responsibility to let them know what we want. After all, they do represent us. Contact your elected officials and tell them:
"Keep America beautiful. Develop our natural resources! America's extractive industries mean real economic stimulus and don't cost taxpayers. They create jobs and put billions in our treasury."
Marita Noon is the executive director of the Citizens Alliance for Responsible Energy (CARE), a nonprofit organization advocating for citizen rights to abundant, available and affordable energy. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or www.responsiblenergy.org.