Friday, April 12, 2013

What I Told Barack Obama

From the bean of Green Bean.

It was early.  7:50 in the morning.  I'd had to bribe my husband to drive the carpool.  I wondered what my partner in crime had done with her kids when I pulled into her driveway - 5 minutes late.

She popped out of the door - raincoat and umbrella.  Heading toward the main road, I confessed that my husband was worried about me being arrested.  "I don't even have my ID," she patted down her pockets as if perhaps she had brought it after all.

"I don't think that will happen. It's Atherton for God's sake."  Atherton is a very upscale neighborhood in Silicon Valley and about 10 minutes from my home.    

"I didn't bring a sign, either," she admitted.  Who could blame her?  I'd recruited her late last night when I realized that going to a rally would be WAY more fun with a friend.  You see, as far as protests, and rallies go, I'm a virgin.  I've blogged forever and have hit a few city council meetings, belonged to some city and school green teams but to go and hold a sign and chant slogans with a bunch of random folks, newbie!  I've reached a point in my life, though, where I don't think we can organic garden and second hand shop our way out of this mess.  I think the only way to make a dent is to make a lot of noise, grow public support and force our leaders to lead.

I showed my friend the sign I had scribbled last night with my boys' dried up markers.  "But I think they'll have signs there," I assured her.  


Apparently, Barack Obama's motorcade was driving past the designed meeting area en route to a fundraiser.  I wondered if we would be the only fools out in the rain at 8am to protest the Keystone XL Pipeline.  

We were still a few blocks away when we breathed a sigh of relief.  We spotted one sign, then a few folks walking toward the fire station.  As we rounded the corner, my heart raced.  We wouldn't be alone after all!


Approximately 100 people gathered that morning in the rain for a 20 second opportunity to let the President know that it is past time to act.  That the Keystone Pipelines, tar sands, fossil fuels are not good for anyone.  That there are no jobs on a dead planet.  


We joined the crowd and were offered signs saved from the last night's rally in San Francisco.  Passing cars honked and driver's flashed thumbs up, giving us a jolt of adrenaline.  

Several police cars came and bickered over whether we could be there.  Over her loudspeaker, one officer repeatedly demanded that the crowd move across the street.  Another got out of his car and promised that as long as the Constitution was in effect, we could gather wherever we wanted.


Suddenly, the motorcade was there.  Sirens flashing on wet pavement.  Four black SUVs with the darkest tinted windows I've ever seen. 

Photo from San Jose Mercury News.  All you can see of me is the red sign on the other side of the SUV.

Mr. President, I hope you heard me.  I hope you saw that sign I held. I hope you realize that the situation is dire enough to get an introvert out of her house, to stand on a cold street corner with a bunch of strangers.  Mr. President, we must act now!

 Photo from Sara Shor, the rally organizer.

Once the motorcade passed, my friend and I returned our signs and headed for the car.  The whole ride home, we grinned, gave each other high fives and pats on the back.  That morning, we moved past personal environmentalism.  We stepped out of our comfort zones.  We stood up for what we believed in and it felt awesome!

** This post is part of a carnival on the Keystone XL Pipeline.  On April 18th, please go visit Retro Housewife Goes Green to see how other eco-bloggers feel about the pipeline in specific and tar sands in general.  



3 comments:

Betsy (Eco-novice) said...

Well done, Green Bean! I've never been to a rally yet either. Those darn kids do make it a bit challenging. So glad you were there representing. I will have to remember that advice to bring a friend when the time comes...

Eco Yogini said...

YAY!!! that is SO AWESOME!!!

I love rallies, the energy is just so all encompassing, almost overwhelming.

I hope Mr Obama heard you too!

Anonymous said...

Thats so wonderful. I haven't been to a rally in years, but I sure would again. As a Montana resident I am very against the Keystone Pipeline, but in this very rural, conservative area, I'm afraid not many share my views. The louder we get, the better chance we can stop this pipeline.

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