Van Jones, President Obama’s former Green Jobs Advisor, spoke directly to tens of thousands of people who rallied on the National Mall Sunday to protest the proposed Keystone XL tar sands pipeline. It is being called the largest climate protest ever. Jones aimed his remarks directly at the president:
Well, this is it. This is the last minute in the last quarter of the biggest most important game humanity has ever played. This is it. One thing I know having worked in this town, the simple maxim, if you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get. If you don’t fight for what you want, you deserve what you get.
I had the honor of working for this president, and I want to direct my message to him. President Obama, all the good that you have done, all the good you can imagine doing will be wiped out, wiped out by floods, by fires, by super-storms if you fail to act now to deal with this crisis that is a gun pointed at the head of the future. Everything you have done. History will judge you 20 years from now based on one decision alone. That decision is not in the hands of the congress. That decision is not in the hands of any governors. That decision is not in the hands of any mayors or any dogcatchers. The decision is in your hands, Mr. President, your hands. Your hands.
The decision to let this pipeline come through America is a most fateful decision you’ll ever make, Mr. President. It would be like jabbing a dirty needle into this country from Canada. It would be like lighting a fuse on a carbon bomb. That is what it would be like doing, Mr. President. And you cannot allow that to happen.
If the pipeline goes through, Mr. President, the first thing it runs over will not be farmland. The first thing it runs over will not be small towns. If you let this pipeline go through, Mr. President, the first thing it runs over is the credibility of the President of the United States of America. That is the first thing it runs over.