Hilarious. The enviro-mag Grist:
Obama as Snuffleupagus: Expect our imaginary friend to skip out on Power Shift again
On the eve of the Power Shift 2011 climate youth conference, no one expects President Obama to show. If he did, he’d probably get booed by activists angry about his tightening embrace of the oil, coal, gas, and nuclear industries. But it was a very different story two years ago at the last Power Shift, when 10,000 young, idealistic activists filled the Washington Convention Center screaming his name on the opening night of the conference, anticipating his arrival after tantalizing hints from White House staff that he would accept an invitation to speak. After all, we were the ones who’d helped elect him, and he wouldn’t want to pass up the chance to fire up so many young, idealistic activists.
But what happened that night gave us a first inkling that the man we had elected on a promise to heal a “planet in peril” and mobilize the country in a race for clean energy was a very different person from the one who now sat in the Oval Office. The first, minor straw was when Obama didn’t show, leaving everyone disappointed. But we all thought he probably had something more important or urgent to do. He was the president, after all.
Then we heard the rumor and saw the dreadful confirmation on the news: Instead of giving a few minutes of his time to rally the movement, he was three blocks away at the Verizon Center in a front row seat watching the Wizards play the Bulls.
Of course, no one begrudged the man a solo night on the town (though for entertainment value, I would point out that Power Shift had The Roots). But then Saturday, Sunday, and Monday passed, and no Obama.
The slight stung. After all, for most climate youth, President Obama was seen as the new leader of the environmental movement — Al Gore and Bill McKibben and Van Jones wrapped into one. It was as if Rachel Carson and John Muir had been magically reincarnated as a hip, inspirational community organizer who through the awesome power of a youth-fueled movement had somehow gotten to the Oval Office. Instead of pulling on the sleeves of power, we hoped that with our work and Obama’s leadership, the movement was the power.