President Obama will be embarking on a bus tour of Central New York, making a stop in Syracuse on Thursday August 22nd, 2013.
He's going to give a to give a little talk concerning educational opportunities at Henniger High School. According to the White House, he will presumably discuss and promote the "importance of ensuring that every American has the opportunity to achieve a quality education by reducing cost and improving the value of higher education for middle-class students and their families."
This is quite an honor for the Salt City. The Presidential spot light carries much more weight to cities that have struggled to survive the economic climate that has prevailed in the post 9/11 era, along with being seriously caught in the swoon of the economic meltdown of 2008.
Its also been rumored that on Thursday Night the entire Presidential Entourage will be staying at the ultra exclusive and chi-chi Mirbeau Spa in my home town of Skaneateles, which sits on the northern tip of one of the freshest bodies of water in the US.
Skaneateles Lake is part of the water supply for residents of the city of Syracuse, with over 250,000 humans dependent on access to clean and plentiful water.
(A disclaimer: I've been involved in the anti-hydrofracking grass roots movement in New York State for almost five years now, and administer a facebook page called YOU CAN'T DRINK MONEY.)
Many people on the grass roots level have worked tirelessly to protect Skaneateles Lake, and thus the water supply for a densely populated area, as gas leases were signed willy nilly in the gold rush that is high volume, slick water, hydrofracking. So far, a moratorium on the practice has held for five years, and Skaneateles Lake got a special layer of dispensation that would make it slightly less profitable to frack about and around its shores.
President Obama has been recently quoted as calling the US "The New Saudi Arabia Of Natural Gas", and is about to sign off on opening federally controlled lands to widespread fracking, among other initiatives. He has adopted an open and official stance of "Damn The Torpedoes, Full Speed Ahead". His usual stance of at least perceived caution and pragmatism has been clearly discarded for a "Drill, Baby, Drill" policy that out Sarah Palins Sarah Palin.
He's making James Watt look like a bonafide tree hugger.
I'm a supporter of the President, and voted for him twice. I'd be a liar if I didn't mention that lately I've been pretty disappointed with some of his policy decisions and administrative actions, especially those revolving around energy and natural gas extraction in the US.
So the irony of the President on a promotional tour and taking a break to enjoy one of the most naturally beautiful places in New York State that many have busted their collective asses (at great personal and financial risk) to protect from the industrial dangers of high volume, slick water, horizontal hydrofracking hasn't escaped me.
The more I think about the Presidential Bus Tour stopping in Syracuse and having an overnight in Skaneateles, the more galled and appalled I become considering his stance on hydrofracking.
He will be speaking at a high school ostensibly to talk about the "opportunity to have achieve a quality education".
Those of us involved in the anti hydrofracking movement are concerned with much more simple opportunities. The opportunity to access of clean water, to not have the risks of the oil and gas industry externalized onto an unknowing and uneducated public, by the unethical re-writing of laws and regulations that were bought and paid for by an industry that has proven over time to be wholly incapable of any type of transparency or self-regulation. This is so much more than a straight up environmental issue.
Aside from the absolute public relations tone deaf gaffe of tossing the majority of your New York populist support under the wheels of your tour bus by having a "spa night" like a Pasha (Axelrod and P-Fluffy: Are you listening?), I'd like to make a suggestion:
Stay in Skaneateles if you must, Mr. President, but stick to your principles and the industry rhetorical bullshit that you have embraced and don't turn on the water taps in your luxury bathroom.
Don't wash your hands, hydrate yourself, have bowel movements, brush your teeth or take a shower during your visit.
And if you must urinate, relieve yourself by the side of Route 20 in full sight of your secret service detail.
Or better yet, if you are insistent on propagating this absolute hypocrisy, just go piss up a rope.
I, as did many other of your constituents, voted for you because you were the smartest guy in the room.
That never gave you Carte Blanche to act like the biggest asshole in the room.
YOU CAN'T DRINK MONEY, MR. PRESIDENT.