No dear friends of the Pulpit, I have not abandoned the Money Questions series. I'm just "striking while the iron is hot," so to speak. The oil spill is important, and I feel compelled to act now, while the mulberry leaves are rustling, if you get the reference. You know the drill: Read, Share, Comment. And this time I mean it!!!

The disaster in the Gulf of Mexico has been on everybody's mind of late, and with good reason. Millions of barrels of oil have spewed, and continue to spew, into the waters of the Gulf, and the end is not in sight. Most of us have hoped and wished for a speedy recovery: stop the leak, clean up the mess, back to business as usual. That is not going to happen.

The world we live in is not the world of two months ago. The world has changed, and there is no going back to normal. Normal isn't there any more. Hand-wringing and finger-pointing and name-calling are not the answer; there is enough blame to go around, but that isn't the answer either. The time has come to set our emotional turmoil aside and bring our intelligence to bear on the situation as it is.

Before we can find solutions to the problem, we must understand what the problem is. We need to know, for starters, that the leak will, eventually, be fixed. Eventually. The logistics of such a leak so far below the surface of the ocean is completely outside our experience; whatever the answer is, it hasn't been thought of before. Given time, we'll get there.

Next comes the question of what to do with the oil that is already there. The staggering volume of oil, growing more staggering by the minute, is daunting, to say the least. This also is a problem the answer to which hasn't been thought of yet.

I believe the answer to the oil problem will come in the form of an entirely new industry, which I, for the moment, am calling "oil reclamation." Somebody is going to figure out how to separate the oil from the seawater pretty soon, and when that happens, the clean-up effort will begin to pay for itself. Besides which, the formation of this new industry could potentially create enough jobs to render the illegal alien problem obsolete.

How much oil is there, under the Gulf? Who knows? Enough to dig the United States out of debt? Enough to free us from dependence on foreign oil? Enough to bail out every bank, auto-maker and bad mortgage in the country? Very likely, to all three. Alright, let's do one more: enough to fund some real research into clean alternative energy, like solar? I like to think so.

This country has never been short on brains, but sadly it takes a tragedy of epic proportions sometimes to focus those little gray cells in the right direction. Now that we're there, let's not lose momentum, huh?

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