Thursday, August 18, 2005

Ford Tells CHS Students World Rests In Their Hands

It is up to students like those at Clarksville High School to shape the future of the country after the end of the war in Iraq.

U.S. Rep. Harold Ford Jr., D-Memphis, told a group of history and government students at Clarksville High Wednesday that they should strive to learn more about other nations.

Ford, a fifth-term congressman, is running for the seat that U.S. Sen. Bill Frist will vacate in 2006. State Sen. Rosalind Kurita, D-Clarksville, also is running for the position.

"It is necessary for us to know what we can about the rest of the world," Ford said. "The problems that we have come from a lack of understanding of people and their cultures."

Some of the students, like 17-year-old Steve Timler, questioned Ford about the country's efforts to find other fuel resources.

"What about a country like Qatar that has a good oil supply?" Timler asked. "Shouldn't we be selective about who we get our oil from?"

Ford said the United States should stop relying on other countries for oil.

"I don't believe we should be depending on another country for our basic needs," he said. "I would love for us to figure out a way to develop new energy sources."

Crystal Vandalsem, 17, suggested the congressman look into helping farmers and engineers work to convert soybeans into an energy source.

"I'm going to hire you as my energy adviser," Ford said. "I could not agree with you more. The problem is that we have not provided farmers with enough incentives to do that."

New energy sources would help prevent the United States from funding terrorists, Ford said.

However, Deeric Crutchfield, 17, worried that cutting off money to Middle Eastern countries would cause more problems.

"If their pockets start hurting, then what is going to happen?" Deeric asked.

People in Iraq already are suffering financially, Ford said.

"The people living in squalor are rebelling, and they are upset at the U.S., because they feel like we aren't supporting them," Ford said.

Timler also said the nation is not supporting itself enough because of outsourcing.

He asked if the trend of American corporations sending jobs to other countries is directly related to health care and national debt problems.

"I'm torn (on outsourcing), because I like paying less for goods, but I hate seeing people in this country without jobs," Ford said. "The thing you can do about the national debt is whenever you get some money, save 15 percent. If we save more, this would be a very different place."

From: The Leaf Chronicle