The darkness and gloom are descending over us. It is now our burden to be living in the Blackout State. But be not afraid.

The coming planned blackouts will help reduce the ridiculous amount of debt we’re racking up, but at the same time it could also increase the psychological damage. The dimming lights coupled with a weakened economy could send us into the Depressive State.

But from this crisis can emerge lightness and truth. As bad as it may get regarding shortages and debt, we hope necessity will force us to come out the other side with a plan of action that can energize us through this century. If the political will is there, the way will emerge.

The Sacramento News & Review has prepared a special report in two parts that will first detail our current dismal state of affairs and then next week set forth a plan of action that could brighten our picture, if the leaders and the citizens want to follow.

Bill Bradley, longtime observer of politics and energy, starts with ‘Meltdown!’ on page 18, and next week News Editor Steven T. Jones will follow with some far-reaching solutions.

The path to enlightenment? Hardly. More of a brutally honest assessment of the problem and a radical, yet necessary, path to correction.