My father, a husky pioneer Oklahoma, Protestant minister, was stuck.
He had driven our seven-passenger
Maynes into hub-deep mud, having
misjudged a soft stretch of dirt road
between Quapaw and Picher, northeastern Oklahoma mining towns. The
rear wheels sunk in deeper every time the engine was accelerated.
We kids piled out to look and try to
help, A piece of timber and some
gravel, tossed beneath the spinning
wheels, didn't accomplish much. It
was a quarter of a mile to a country store and help.
My father still didn't appear ready to give up.
"What are you going to do now, Dad?" we asked him.
"Pray," he said with a chuckle, as he got out to appraise the situation, "while you see if somebody at the store can bring a team of horses to pull us out."
The more one hears the more one
may be forgiven for concluding that
prayer is indicated around the White
House these days — and hope that the
President's reshuffled team can pull it
out of some of its problems.
Indeed, the more you reflect on
national events of recent weeks the
more unbelievable some seem.
The President talks about a national
malaise — defined in a dictionary as
"a vague sense of moral or mental
ill-being" — but many Americans,
Democrats as well as Republicans,
feel nothing of the kind.
Columnist Mary McGrory summed
"It's not my crisis," Jimmy Carter told the American people. "Its
''We don't think we're sick," says Vermont's Republican governor, Richard Snelling. "Mr. Carter is trying to
blame his own shortcomings on the American people."
(Polls indicate, though, that some Americans are doubtful as to their
future and the future of the country.
Some also say they have lost faith in
politicians; many of us have heard
that as long as we can remember.)
A cabinet shuffle is engineered on top of the president's promulgation, at
long last, of another and bigger energy program.
In the process, one of the most respected administration figures,
Attorney General Griffin B. Bell of Atlanta, finally is getting out. He had
wanted so to do from the early days of his agreement to serve.
But there are very positive aspects to the Washington activity.
The energy program includes facing up to the need for a cutting of red
tape in getting on with the development of new sources and facilities.
The necessity of going ahead on nuclear power is recognized in the
President's proposal for utilities to reduce use of fuel oil by 50 per cent in
the next decade. Use of coal has been emphasized; also termed "suitable"
are natural gas, the sun and refuse — as well as nuclear fission.
"We'll do whatever we are permitted to do," said Charles Luce, Chairman of Consolidated Edison. He thus
reflected the reaction of top utilities people generally.
They are accustomed to being badgered by environmentalists and hogtied by government regulators. It
takes two or three years to get regulatory approval for any kind of power
plant; eight to 10 years for a coal-fired plant to make it from drawing
board to Operation — and 10 to 12 years for nuclear.
The good word is that the mood just now is to keep moving — proposals to
cut out some of the environmental red tape already had been under consideration by committees of Congress.
Miller is the former chairman of the
board of directors of Gannett Co.
Member of the Gannett Group
Frank Gannett, Founder
Stuart A. Dunham, Editorial Chairman
Read Kingsbury, Editor of the Editorial Page
Maurice L. Hickey, Publisher
Robert H. Giles, Executive Editor
Nancy J. Woodhull, Managing Editor
Published daily except Sundays and holidays by Gannett Co., Inc., 55 Exchange St.,
Rochester, N.Y. 14614. Allen H. Neuharth, chairman ami president.
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