Al Gore just gave a major speech on energy independence. Before addressing his speech, I  first want to frame his speech in broader terms.

Few of us would disagree that one of the most significant challenges of our time is to create reliable and affordable energy sources that free us from being tyrranized by the mushrooming price of oil. Most of us would agree that the skyrocketing costs of energy and the massive damage these costs are wreaking on our economy mean that we are overdue in reaching this goal of energy independence. Most of us would agree that the current oil crisis has escalated to the point where it is now a matter of national security for each country to secure their own energy future.

More of us are divided about how to achieve the security goal of being able to count on reliable, affordable energy. Those who are certain that it is possible to attain energy independence through developing pollution-free, renewable, non-carbon-based energy sources within ten years are challenged by those who insist that this change cannot occur that quickly and who therefore advocate an increase in carbon-based and nuclear fuel production (which itself is currently estimated to take ten years to accomplish).

I would suggest that the question of energy independence is matter of far too much importance for decisions to be dictated by spin-doctoring and propaganda. The time has therefore come to restore the lost art of true debate. We have seen over and over that spin leads to polarization and polarization leads to paralysis. Only true debate, not spin-addicted ideologically fanatical pundits, can lead to synergy, which is combining the wisdom of all perspectives to reveal a more complete picture than any side in a debate can see by itself.

Just as the time has come to replace polarization with true debate, the time has also come to replace compromise with synergy. We have seen over and over that the best outcome that polarization can lead to is compromise. And the best possible outcome that compromise is capable of creating is one in which all parties at the bargaining table walk away feeling equally ripped off.

Our energy future is a matter of far too much importance for decisions to be dictated by the kind of political polarization that leads to watered-down compromises that lack the backbone to do what is truly needed. Only honest collaboration and synergy can create solutions that are truly sustainable and that truly serve collective highest good.

Since most politicians behave as though they are incapable of honest debate and true synergy, it is time for those of us who DO know how to think in discerning ways and who ARE capable of creating synergy to start doing this ourselves, even as we finally start demanding this kind of behavior from both our politicians and the media.

In that spirit I invite each of you reading this post to take responsibility as a citizen for REALLY understanding all sides of the energy issue in depth so that you can form a truly informed perspective about what to insist that your elected officials do about our energy crisis.

I also invite you to post to this blog your perspectives about what I have written.

To get the dialogue started, I invite you to watch Al Gore’s speech below in which he issues a challenge for the United States to complete its transition to non-carbon-based, renewable, pollution-free energy sources produced within the United States within the next ten years.

I then challenge you to educate yourself about what those who believe his challenge is unrealistic, or even dangerously misguided, will most certainly say about his speech. I challenge you to search for the spin, as well as the convenient omissions, in EVERYTHING you read, watch and listen to on this topic. This includes both Gore’s speech and the responses by those who disagree with him. I challenge you to be discerning rather than swallowing anything whole that anyone says about this. And under no circumstances believe anyone who feels they need to resort to character assassination in order to make their point because this is the sign of someone who deals in spin rather than debate, polarization rather than dialogue and coercion or compromise rather than synergy.

Why is being discerning in how we assess this issue so important? Because I would suggest that how we respond to today’s energy crisis will have far greater repercussions on our economic sustainability and prosperity than just about any other issue we currently face — perhaps even more than how we deal with terrorism. Because I would suggest that responding well to today’s energy crisis will also help us take a huge step toward ending the massive integrity crisis that our culture and the world community are in the midst of.

So, take responsibity. Get truly educated. And then insist that your elected officials find the courage to debate rather than polarize and to synergize rather than compromise. The time is now and the person is you.