On the eve of the Power Shift 2011 climate youth conference, no one expects President Obama to show. If he did, he'd probably get booed by activists angry about his tightening embrace of the oil, coal, gas, and nuclear industries. But it was a very different story two years ago at the last Power Shift, when 10,000 young, idealistic activists filled the Washington Convention Center screaming his name on the opening night of the conference, anticipating his arrival after tantalizing hints from White House staff that he would accept the invitation. After all, we were the ones who'd helped elect him, and he certainly wasn't one to pass up the chance to fire up so many young, idealistic activists to make the world a better place.
But what happened that night gave us a first inkling that the man we had elected on a promise to heal a "planet in peril" and mobilize the country in a race for clean energy was a very different person from the one who now sat in the Oval Office. The first, minor straw was when Obama didn't show, leaving everyone disappointed. But we all thought he probably had something more important or urgent to do. He was the President, after all.
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