We all know how the federal system works. Although the president is not a tyrannical ruler with an overwhelming amount of power, he (thus far) has a whole lot of power, and a large degree of influence on the citizens of the United States, as well as some others around the world.
Last year, during the presidential campaign, I remember reading about how the Obama family bought a new Ford Escape Hybrid. He did this under pressure, a presidential candidate with an slight emphasis on environmental issues couldn’t drive something dirty. He had to lead to pack in fuel-efficient, low polluting technology. I have not seen the numbers, but I assume that sales went up for this car after Obama bought one. If he is buying it, it must be a good choice, and a smart one for the future.
The thing to note, is that this is a symbolic gesture. In a modern presidential campaign, a candidate travels effortlessly around the country with a huge staff. It a very mobile operation. That means jets, cars, trains to the max. If Obama drove his new Ford Escape Hybrid for the rest of his life instead of something less clean; it would not adverse effect on the pollution from his trips on a 747 in the span of two weeks. Nevertheless, by changing perspective and remembering that Obama is a leader and therefore trendsetter, everyone who follows him in buying a hybrid SUV may offset that. If not, they are on the right path.
In office, Obama has been making smart choices too. The first one hundred days of a presidency–the presidential honeymoon–are a time for a president to get a lot done without a lot of hassle. Obama got a lot done for the environment. For example: tax credits for clean vehicles and home energy usage, the symbolic (but trendsetting) planting of a vegatable garden; the declaration of greenhouse gases as dangerous and the reducation of pollution.
Good work. Obama is placing himself among the green ranks of Jefferson, T. Roosevelt and Carter; while distinguishing himself from such dirty presidents as McKinley, Jackson and Hoover.
It is important to have a president that cares about the environment. Whether we like it or not, the president gets work done, legislation signed and put into effect. In addition, a president can broadcast a green message to the people. The president is someone to follow and learn from; if he goes green, we go green.
While environmental concerns may not be as in-our-faces as the economy of health care, it is in dire need of our attention. If Obama is lucky with those two problems, his next step would be a comprehensive energy program. Carter tried in ’77 and failed miserably. But I say, ‘Yes We Can.’