October 5, 2011

Interrupting the President to Interrupt the Pipeline

Yesterday, my friend Ken and I attended an Obama Campaign fundraiser in St. Louis. But we didn’t go there with any ordinary mission. We went to make sure our generation’s demand that President Obama reject the Keystone XL tar sands pipeline was heard.

After waiting over an hour, and with hundreds rallying outside, President Obama took the stage. As he began his speech, Ken and I prepared for our intervention. I unwrapped my shawl, and Ken opened his jacket, which both had our message clearly inscribed “President Obama: Veto the Keystone XL pipeline.”

After President Obama spoke about leaving a better future for our children, we seized the pause and asked “will you veto the Keystone XL pipeline?” Obama didn’t directly respond, but acknowledged us a few minutes later when saying “we’ve got a couple of people here who are concerned about the environment.” Yesterday, we were heard.

We stayed for the rest of event and explained to people that we voted for Obama and want to work to elect him again - we just need to re-inspired.

Interrupting Obama was a type of accountability. When President Obama met with young leaders during Power Shift 2011, he said “push me.” We are. Over 1,200 people were arrested outside the White House - young and old and in-between - asking Obama to veto Keystone XL. People have organized actions all over the country when Obama appears to speak. Yet, he has not given any sort of response or indication of his opinion.

Yesterday, we made sure that President Obama got our message. People across the country are stepping-up on this. In the three days since I posted a letter on the blog explaining that we needed support for this action, 25 people responded. We had over 30 people outside and were joined in movement solidarity by a group from #OccupySTL. Inside, we demonstrated to the President that Keystone XL is too dangerous for him to ignore. As we push forward to the DC State Department hearing on Friday and the November 6th action, we must continue to push Obama as directly as we can, just as he asked us to.

Thank you to all who supported us in every capacity!