October 2, 2011

Taking Obama's Grassroots Fundraising Lesson to Heart to Demand He Reject Keystone XL

This Tuesday, we are planning an action for President Obama’s fundraising stop in St. Louis. I sent this letter to my family and friends to ask for their support. Now I am asking a larger group to contribute, so we can call on President Obama to lead by rejecting Keystone XL.

Dear family and friends,

Like so many of us, in 2008, I fell in love with President Obama’s vision for the future. After working on his campaign and covering my walls in Obama swag, when the President was elected on my 18th birthday, I sobbed like a baby. But three years later, it is not a stretch to say that President Obama has not delivered on his promises. Of course, not all of this is his fault - he came into a difficult Presidency, Congress has gone crazy, America is increasingly polarized. But now when I hear him speak, I don't feel inspired by his rhetoric - I feel sad for what could have been.

When I listened to Candidate Obama, I was most excited when he spoke about taking action on climate change. For the first time in 8 years, here was a candidate that not only accepted climate change was happening, but understood how awful it would be. And, if you understand that, if you understand the ramifications that climate change will have on our world, how can you not act now? But he didn't, and crazy Congress didn't let him.

In the coming months, President Obama faces his biggest decision yet around climate. The proposed Keystone XL pipeline would funnel tar sands oil from Alberta, Canada all the way down to refineries in Texas. Not only does this pipeline cause huge safety problems from potential spills (it goes over the Ogallala aquifer and LOTS of farmland), but these tar sands are so dirty that the nation's top climate scientist has said it will be "game over" for climate if the tar sands are developed fully. Game over. Meaning that, if this pipeline is built, all the work done by amazing people all across the world could be for naught.

The lucky thing is this decision goes straight through President Obama, no crazy Congress. The pipeline is on the path for approval by the State Department (whose Environmental Impact Statement was objected to by the EPA), but now thousands of people all across the US are organizing to pressure Obama. Over 1,200 people were arrested outside the White House in August with the message of "President Obama, we will work for you again in 2012, if you veto the pipeline." They even wore their Obama pins.

This Tuesday, President Obama is coming to St. Louis for a fundraising event. A group of us from WashU’s Green Action will be outside, standing with a banner that reads "Yes, You Can President Obama. Veto the Keystone Pipeline." We plan to deliver the photo-petitions of students that we have been collecting over the past couple of weeks. We will push President Obama to re-inspire us, the young people, who worked hard to elect him. We will tell him we’re ready to work hard to re-elect him, but we need to know he cares.

Not only do we want to push from the outside whenever Obama is present, but we also want to send two people into the fundraiser to show the President that young people are still engaged, organizing and calling on him to lead. This isn’t easy to do. In fact, I’m downright terrified - this is the President of the United States we’re talking about. But when Obama was elected, he asked us to hold him accountable, and with the decision of Keystone XL on the line, we’ve managed our fear, and we’re ready. Here’s the catch, though: the fundraiser costs $250 a seat -- can you help us get in?

In 2008, the Obama Campaign demonstrated the power of grassroots fundraising. Let’s use this power again, but this time to re-inspire President Obama to reject Keystone XL. We need to raise $500 fast. Do you think you may be able to contribute? In doing so, you will be part of this push to tell Obama, once again, to just do the right thing.

Can you contribute $10? $50? Maybe even $100?

If you can, please donate here and pass this letter on to others who might be able to contribute: https://secure.piryx.com/donate/6p94HNcn/Green-Action/

Thank you so much,



Will there be press inside the fundraiser? And if so, are you planning to somehow interrupt the fundraiser or otherwise get the press's attention, or you are hoping to get the chance to see the president face-to-face and to make a direct, private appeal to him?