Last Friday, yet another celebrity caused a swarm of students, professors, and local residents to line the streets of Cambridge. Move over Suri Cruise, President of the United States Barack H. Obama was in town.
At noon in MIT’s Kresge Auditorium, President Obama addressed the nation’s need for clean energy. In addition to the packed auditorium, MIT had seven viewing rooms, where hundreds watched the speech via real time projection. Though watching Obama on a simulcast screen, cramped spectators stood patriotically during the opening National Anthem and clapped enthusiastically at his closing words, although some students were spotted cramming for midterms throughout.
Despite the apparent Obamamania, however, some remained skeptical. James S. DeLuca, a volunteer for Green Peace was one of a crowd of environmentalists protesting outside the speech. He said before the speech that Obama had not come out to say exactly what course of action the U.S. needs to take. “You can’t just put a piece of electrical tape over the check engine light,” DeLuca said.
Some of these protestors followed Obama downtown to the Westin Copley Place hotel, the site of a fundraiser for Governor Deval L. Patrick ’78. Here, they were joined by groups protesting for LGBT rights. A small crowd gathered around James Cardine, a local resident, as he spoke against society’s perception of nontraditional relationships. “We are born imperfect only because we are born here, in this country, at this time,” he said.
“[The protest is] not going to change anyone’s mind but it’s important if only to show people are passionate about the issue,” commented Harvard College Democrats Vice-President and Queer Students and Allies Co-Chair Christian L. Garland ’10-’11. Protesters lingered even after its 2:30 P.M. scheduled end and Obama jetted off by the early evening.
Though his day in Boston was short, Obama still managed to create quite the stir. Suri, take note.