Meet President Obama? Sadly, No Thank You.

Today I got one of those seemingly endless emails sent to me by www.barackobama.com, also known as “Organizing for Action.” It purports to be a political organizing site, but is really best understood as a political dot com, with all its commercial intent as a licensed business entity quite evident in the domain name that it uses.

It was “authored” by David Axelrod, former campaign chief and political adviser to President Obama.  Ostensibly it was sent out to get me to sign my name to support the Affordable Health Care Act enrollment over the next couple of months, which I am happy to do, especially since I am benefitting from that Act. Of course I knew that I would be steered to a fundraising page for taking my time to do that. No big surprise there. But I was also offered a chance to meet the President for signing up online to help.

Strangely, that offer bothered me, a lot, and so I launched the following email back into the netherworld of info@barackobama.com, which I believe is staffed by a robot, but I have no proof of that. But even if it is Mr. Axelrod’s robot monitoring replies that are not really requested, much less read, I just had to send back the following:

“I used to want to meet the President, but since he has shown his true colors as a lapdog of Big Oil, I shall pass on this opportunity. Tell him to meet me and thousands of others who will march to shut down the White House if he approves the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. Maybe when he sends me to jail I will fall into a category to which he might pay attention. Meet us in jail, Mr. President. You might discover your own true heart when you see the people who once loved the hope you offered to lead our nation and the world away from climate disaster. Now we must create our own hope by resisting you. Maybe if you meet us in jail you can feel that joy of doing the right thing against all odds that you seemed to have felt at one time, but now appear to have forgotten altogether.”

Okay, I was angry. I should not have called him a “lapdog.” I should have said this: “But since he has shown his true colors as an eager proponent of ever more extreme forms of fossil fuel extraction like fracking for shale gas or offshore drilling, or tars sands development” and so forth. Point is, I have no desire to meet this man I once held in such high esteem, unless it were to tell him how much he disappoints me, but that is not really a good reason for meeting someone.

I would just start telling him how I had campaign workers living at my farm house for two months in late 2008 when he ran for President, or I might add up all the money I have sent to his two campaigns for President or to the Democratic Party, but their robots probably know that already, so what’s the point?  That would be a bad conversation to have with the President because it would only deepen my sense of having been a big fool to believe him in the first place.

So if I win the lottery to meet the President, I will ask that it be passed on to the next person drawn from the bucket.  For now I must get this onto my tiny little blog, and then I must send the URL into the Twitter and Facebook ether in case anyone is listening out there. Maybe others would care about my humble and deeply mournful opinion of President Barack Obama. Then I must get back to the work of joining with the tens of thousands that he will need to send to jail if he approves a pipeline to facilitate the biggest, dirtiest energy project on the planet, the massive carbon bomb that is Canadian tar sands development. At least if he is going to kiss the butt of Big Oil, I suppose we could say, the man has the ambition to do it in the biggest way possible.

Sorry, there I go getting angry again. Perhaps nonviolent civil disobedience in the presence of true climate action heroes will calm me down and provide some true inspiration. Perhaps, despite President Obama, we can pass on a decent world to our grandchildren. So I will look to those who get ready to march across this nation, beginning on March 1 in the Great March for Climate Action. http://climatemarch.org/  I will organize to greet them as they come near Pittsburgh.

I need to meet with people who know what’s happening with our climate and are acting to end the fossil fuel era. President Obama is not yet counted in that number.

Mr. President, if you want to prove me wrong, come to Wilmington, California on March 1, 2014 and take those first steps with the Great March for Climate Action. See how you can inspire again. While you are at it (whimsily I say) ask Pope Francis to meet you there.

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About jstephencleghorn

My name is Dr. J. Stephen Cleghorn. I am now a resident of Baltimore, MD. I continue to own a 50-acre certified organic farm in Jefferson County, PA that I operated with my late wife Lucinda between 2005 and 2011 when she passed away from cancer. The farm is now under lease to organic farmers and protected by "The Dr. Lucinda Hart-Gonzalez Conservation Easement” which protects it for organic agriculture and against the threats of industrial development that would violate the Rights of Nature. The blog’s name is taken from the writings of Saint Augustine who believed “Hope” to be the greatest of spiritual gifts. And, says Saint Augustine, Hope has two lovely daughters: Anger and Courage. Anger so that what must not be may not be; courage so that what should be can be. Anger and Courage. Now in late 2016, after the election of Donald Trump as President of the United States, these are the spiritual gifts that must come to the fore if we are to have “Hope” for a loving culture and a sustainable world for future generations. When I first created this blog it was focused on the extreme form of fossil fuel extraction known as “fracking” that was threatening much of the state of Pennsylvania and many other parts of the United States. At the root of that struggle was and is a struggle to halt and reverse climate change. Now the struggle has turned to resisting an incoming Trump Administration that is an existential threat to the climate with its plans to ramp up extraction and use of fossil fuels. This blog will be about having the courage to stand up to the massive global corporations that would ruin our planet and its climate, take their profits and leave the mess to future generations of to clean up. We need to rise up, my friends, and be not afraid.
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5 Responses to Meet President Obama? Sadly, No Thank You.

  1. Ed Fallon says:

    Powerfully statement, Stephen! I look forward to meeting you when the Great March for Climate Action rolls through the hills of western Pennsylvania. Thank you for all your help!

  2. JoAnne Bruno says:

    Sadly, Stephen, I share your disappointment in this President. I, too, campaigned, displayed signs in my front yard, sent money to his campaign. It is like a blow to the stomach when I hear him promote fossil fuel and then talk about climate change. So disconnected….so far removed from his original message.

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