When it comes to energy and the environment, California Gov. Jerry Brown is hoping for a modern-day Hanukkah miracle.
At a speech during Monday’s menorah lighting ceremony in Sacramento, Brown, a former Jesuit seminarian, said the Jewish holiday is a good time to reflect on “the whole idea that we’re running out of oil so we need a miracle.”
Tonight marks the first night of Hanukkah, the Jewish “festival of lights” commemorating the re-dedication of the holy Temple in Jerusalem following the Jewish victory over the Syrian-Greeks in 165 B.C.E.
Legend has it that when Jewish troops regained control of the Temple, they were determined to purify it by burning ritual oil in the Temple’s menorah for eight days. To their dismay, they discovered there was only one day’s worth of oil left in the Temple, but they lit the menorah anyway and the oil lasted for eight full days. This is the miracle of Hanukkah that is celebrated every year.
“Today’s miracle is not to find more oil, but to utilize the sun,” the governor said.
“When we continue to use our intelligence we're going to take that sun through the miracle of modern science and technology and we're going to light up California, our cars, our homes our air conditioners," he said. "And we are going to reduce significantly and every year the amount of money we are sending over to the Middle East to some very dangerous characters who do not have our best interests in the heart.”
Brown’s use of a holiday metaphor to convey the country’s urgent need to move beyond our current energy impasse is clever, and it’s also the kind of leadership that’s been lacking from Washington on this critical issue. Hope that both parties could put politics aside to reach an energy deal in 2011 has not materialized.
California has long been considered a national leader in alternative energy, and last Thursday, Brown hosted a climate change summit at the California Academy of Sciences in Golden Gate Park. But, the state faces a growing deficit and Brown recently announced the budget will be cut by $1 billion in the coming year.
Given the state’s budget woes, Brown admitted in his speech that “we need a lot of miracles here in Sacramento to get our problems solved.”
The same goes for Washington this holiday season.
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