The White House and tar sands

Photo of tar sands protesters

James Hansen, like these protesters, was a big Obama supporter. Now, not so much. Photo: tarsandsaction via Flickr.

Let us return for a moment to election night 2008. As I sat in our farm house in Pennsylvania, watching Barack Obama’s victory speech, I turned my head aside so my wife would not see the tears in my eyes. I suspect that millions cried. It was a great day for America.

We had great hopes for Barack Obama – perhaps our dreams were unrealistic – he is only human. But it is appropriate, it is right, in a period honoring Martin Luther King, to recall the hopes and dreams of that evening.

We had a dream – that the new president would understand the inter-generational injustice of human-made climate change – that he would recognize our duty to be caretakers of creation, of the land, of the life on our planet – and that he would give these matters the priority that our young people deserve.

We had a dream – that the president would understand the commonality of solutions for energy security, national security and climate stability – and that he would exercise hands-on leadership, taking the matter to the public, avoiding backroom crippling deals with special interests.

We had a dream – that the president would stand as firm as Abraham Lincoln when he faced the great moral issue of slavery – and, like Franklin Roosevelt or Winston Churchill, he would speak with the public, enlisting their support and reassuring them.

Perhaps our dreams were unrealistic. It is not easy to find an Abraham Lincoln or a Winston Churchill. But we will not give up. There can be no law or regulation that stops us from acting on our dreams. Have no doubt – if that tar sands pipeline is approved, we will be back, and our numbers will grow. For the sake of our children and grandchildren, we must find someone who is worthy of our dreams.

Re-posted from James Hansen’s website.

— James Hansen, Transition Voice

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  1. Auntiegrav says

    Election night 2008: I was riding home from the hospital after shoulder surgery for a torn ligament. My wife and I were harassed and yelled at because of the Obama sticker on our car.
    I wrote a letter to the newspaper supporting Obama’s election in response to the hateful letters of conservative rednecks in Wisconsin (“Progress”, my butt!), and received a threatening phone call in response to that letter.
    Overall, I see that Obama was elected by money. Money we spend at Wal-Mart pharmacies, Chevron, BP stations, etc. THAT is the ‘democracy’ in the U.S.: one dollar, counted by corporations, equals one vote: paid to advertisers.
    The rest is entertainment and total fracking bullshit.
    Life doesn’t need government. Government needs life. Live as though this is true and to hell with the demonstrations of how stupid we are. If you get the chance to put a thorn in the side of an asshole, do it, but don’t expect it to change anything at all until the perception of money as value finally dies with the asshole.

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