While the evidence suggests that President Obama is not terribly bright and has just benefited from succeeding a downright moron, and while voluminous evidence to which I am privileged suggests that my 9-year-old neice Hallie is extremely intelligent, consider just this one way in which Hallie would make a wiser president than Barack.
Infants live in the moment, and toddlers can't plan much beyond the next day or so, but as we grow we become able to consider longer periods of time. Obama seems able to manage consideration of the next funding cycle, for example. Hallie seems to do considerably better than that:
"August 28, 2011
"President Barack Obama
The White House
1600 Pennsylvania Avenue NW
Washington, DC 20500
"Dear President Obama,
"I am writing about the Keystone XL pipeline. You shouldn't approve this. It will be a disaster for our environment. We have caused enough damage as it is.
"Instead of using fossil fuels, which cause global warming, we can use solar power and geothermal energy. It won't all be easy. A lot of it will be very expensive. But it's our choice, your choice even. It's our only world, our only home, and we have to take care of it. There would be major changes in the environment if the pipeline is put in, and the earth as we know it might never be the same again. The USA already produces 30.3% of greenhouse gases. No one can do everything, but everyone can do something, and that's why I'm writing this letter.
"Think about it. If you say yes, that this pipeline can be put into place, will it affect the people on earth seven generations from now? The chances are, yes. If you say yes, it will affect the whole planet and you will be remembered forever because of that. But if you say no, millions of people will benefit because of that, and everyone will be thankful.
"My grandparents cared enough to get arrested for standing on the sidewalk outside the White House, peacefully objecting to the Keystone XL project, and frankly, I'm quite glad they did.
"Martin Luther King used words. Mahatma Gandhi used words. And I am using words right now. Please think long and hard about this. I know your job must be really stressful, but this is important! I'm not the only one who cares. Please write back!
Hallie, age 9"
The evidence suggests that President Obama does not care in the least about people living several generations from now. Look at his work in Copenhagen to keep global warming going. Look at his military and energy policies, his education policies, his economic policies. There is nothing to suggest he cares.
Can he be brought to?
Can a combination of nonviolent resistance and verbal persuasion shake a President out of a mindset that blocks out the deepest wisdom of our culture articulated above by a nine-year-old? Can the same perhaps bring a majority of Congress Members to overrule the catastrophic course their executive is navigating?
Can a letter from a girl squeeze through a crack and find a human heart shriveled but beating inside the war machine? Can people who deeply believe they are right to serve an oligarchy, slaughter foreigners, imprison whistleblowers, and destroy the environment for the sake of very short-term interests, be brought to share in a longer-term vision?
Will a president ever use the ever-bullier pulpit he is given to challenge the campaign funders and the corporate media on behalf of the very viability of life on earth? Or do our elections now produce such servile "leaders" that persuading a president of anything requires persuading Wall Street and the Pentagon first?
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