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One Country

One Country

By Greg Kozera–

Our annual family reunions were a full day of fun. We had a large family. Almost everyone lived in the Pittsburgh area and most showed up. We could field two full teams for softball. In the evening the men gathered at the keg. As a boy, it was a rite of passage when we were allowed to stay with the men, even though we couldn’t have beer. We were a blue-collar family. My dad was a carpenter most of my uncles were steelworkers. We were also Democrats. At some point the discussion turned to politics leading to lively exchanges. Actually arguments. Looking back, I wonder what would have happened if someone had been a Republican.

Political discussions go back to the beginnings of our country. Topics of religion and politics are good ways to start arguments. America is a melting pot. A diverse nation made up of people from all over the world. Originally it was European nations. Now we are truly a nation with people from everywhere. It shouldn’t surprise anyone we are divided. We always have been. Diversity can lead to division. It Pittsburgh when my father was growing up each ethnic group had their own neighborhood like Polish Hill. The Italians, Irish etc. Sometimes there was trouble between them. Parents from “the old country” hoped their kids would find a spouse of the same ethnicity. When I was at WVU one of my friends told me his parents hoped he would find a “nice Greek girl”.

When people moved to suburbs the ethnic neighborhoods went away. People intermarried. They fought in the war together. My dad was Polish. Both his parents were born in Poland. My mother’s father was a Slovak her mother was English and German. I am a mix of all of those. My kids have all of those plus my wife’s ethnic mix which includes a great grandmother who was a Chippewa Indian. What does that make my kids? American! Today interracial marriage is routine. Hopefully our skin color differences will go the same way as our ethnic differences did.

Overall, we are far more alike than we are different. People that come to America are ambitious. They want a better life for themselves and their families. They are willing to work for it. America is still a land of opportunity. We have the rare combination of personal liberty and economic opportunity. Very few countries have both of those.

Our country is full of stories about immigrants who come here broke and become millionaires. There is no limit to the amount of money a person can make. You can dream as high as you choose in America and succeed. Sometimes people who are born here forget that. Immigrants actually have a better chance to become wealthy. Free for the first time in their life they work hard and take risks. They may start a business. I became a high school soccer coach to give back to the school that gave my children a great education. My players give me the ability to dream again. Sometimes we forget dreams still come true.

People of ALL ethnic and religious backgrounds have been successful in America. A black man aspired to and became our president. The biggest danger we have is people telling us the American dream is dead. It is NOT unless we allow it to be. My friend and Hall of Fame Speaker Willie Jolley says we don’t fail when we set high goals and miss. We fail when we set low goals and succeed because we never reach our full potential.

We can choose to listen to negative voices and believe what we see on the internet and in the media about how divided we are. That is normal considering our diversity. We need to focus on what unites us. Americans come together when challenged like 9/11, the beginning of the pandemic or in times of disaster. When the Elk River flooded a few years ago people came from all over the country to help or sent food and other needed supplies. Americans are givers.

Our diversity is our strength. We overcame the energy crisis. We put a man on the moon. We will beat Covid-19. We are the only major nation to meet the Paris Climate targets even though we aren’t in the treaty. By manufacturing our products in the Shale Crescent USA, we are reducing global emissions. The Shell Cracker will be the cleanest and most efficient plant of its type in the world. We can use plants like this to force the retirement of dirty inefficient plants in places like China and provide high wage U.S. jobs.

I heard a presidential candidate say this week he will shut down the American Oil and Gas industry. That scares me. American oil and gas have driven our gasoline prices down to $2 per gallon. If we give OPEC control of oil prices again we can expect $5+ per gasoline. That will kill tourism jobs and places like Disney. There is a direct link between American oil and gas and American manufacturing. Renewables can only produce electricity not feedstock that provides molecules to make PPE, electric cars, cell phones, solar panels, batteries and all the other products we use. American oil and gas provide economic opportunity and keep us free so our military doesn’t have to depend on Russia, China and OPEC nations for fuel and products.

Shutting down American oil and gas will drive the 12 million manufacturing jobs we now have overseas. Each manufacturing job creates 5 other jobs many of them small local businesses. That is 72 million jobs lost! The best green jobs are manufacturing windmills and solar panels. These go to China without American oil and gas.

We may seem divided but our diversity is our greatest strength. We are One Nation Under God. We get to decide if we will stay that way.

© 2020 Shale Crescent USA

Greg Kozera, gkozera@shalecrescentusa.com is the Director of Marketing and Sales for Shale Crescent USA. He is a professional engineer with a Masters in Environmental Engineering who has over 40 years’ experience in the energy industry. Greg is a leadership expert and the author of four books and numerous published articles.

Opinions expressed in this article are the views of the author and no necessarily those of Northeast ONG.