December 19th, 2009
09:13 AM ET

Dear President Obama #334: Global snoring

Reporter's Note: The president went to Denmark and says he got a good deal on global climate change. I once went to Mexico and got a hammock for five dollars! And considering all the snow on the east coast, a hammock in Mexico sounds pretty good right now. Anyway, here’s my daily letter to the White House.

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/images/12/18/obama12-18-1.gi.jpg]

Tom Foreman | BIO
AC360° Correspondent

Dear Mr. President,

Forgive me, but I can’t help laughing over the idea that Nancy Pelosi had to leave the global warming summit early because a major snowstorm is bearing down on D.C. I know that this is a big, serious issue and all, but you’ve got to admit that is some fine irony. These are the things that make me believe God has a sense of humor.

I’m not sure what to make of your announcement of a “meaningful” deal with China and all the others on the climate over there in Copenhagen. Some people are giving you pats on the back, and others are saying it’s a sham. I have to admit it sounds kind of vague, but what do I know? Seems like the only way any of us will know for sure is to wait thirty years and see where we stand. Kind of like marriage.

I was once told that a hummingbird’s metabolism is so fast, that we appear to that little critter to be moving as slowly as a cloud…or an act of Congress. That’s how they can fly away from us so easily. Even when we run up, we look like enthusiastic glaciers. I don’t know if it’s really true. If I ever meet a talking hummingbird, I’ll ask.

In the meantime, I have been thinking about how that notion applies to a lot of issues we face. Global climate change, the aging of the population, the deficit, the management changes for the Washington Redskins; no matter how fast these matters may be moving on the grand stage of history…they appear to be absolutely creeping on the human scale. And of course that’s your whole problem. It’s just way too easy to push off dealing with long-term issues, when we have pressing short-term ones staring us in the face. Have you ever tried to discuss retirement planning with a 19 year old who wants lunch?

You asked for advice long ago, and that’s mine for today: For as much as you feel that global warming is an urgent matter; you need to remember that not even everyone who believes in the science of it, necessarily thinks we have to take action immediately. They’re hummingbirds, and they see the trouble creeping up on us with plenty of time ahead in which it can be addressed. They are on your side, but be careful. If you sound the alarm too loudly suggesting that all is lost unless we do something today, then what reason would they have to pay attention tomorrow?

I presume as you read this I will be trapped by snow, like a marmot in the Yukon. But I assure you, I won’t be trapped for long. Have cross-country skis, will travel! Call if you get a moment…guess who has a new Blackberry?



Follow Tom on Twitter @tomforemancnn.

Find more of the Foreman Letters here.

soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. Barbara Oliveira

    I liked your comparison between hummingbirds and many of the issues we face in our society. "They’re hummingbirds, and they see the trouble creeping up on us with plenty of time ahead in which it can be addressed. They are on your side, but be careful. If you sound the alarm too loudly suggesting that all is lost unless we do something today, then what reason would they have to pay attention tomorrow?" It was very well put, although if they were real hummingbirds they would know how to fix the problem with the same ease those birds fly away from us at incredible speed. The problem is they probably won't. I feel that scentists should be in charge of these environmental decisions and politicians should be obliged to apply whatever steps they (scientists) think are necessary. This is a global matter, not a nation's one. Of course this idea as also a lot of problems and I do realise it is quite an utopic point of view.

    December 20, 2009 at 7:07 am |
  2. salma

    congratulations on the Blackberyy Mr.Tom..........liked ur piece so much. What I like the most about u is ur spirit, u expect that the president is gonna give u a call oneday or send u a letter rather than the president of China & u never lost hope. Keep up on the good work........hello from Egypt
    P.S guess who has a new mobile.......an Iphone

    December 19, 2009 at 8:11 pm |
  3. kt5292010


    December 19, 2009 at 5:27 pm |
  4. Sherri R

    According to the studies I've read, we really aren't that warm compared to the history of 10,000+ years ago. So as such, I'm thinking more like the 19 year old wanting lunch....I'm more worried about the healthcare bill that taxes now and benefits later; and more worried about an economy that people want to tell me is in recovery, yet I hear there is another round of foreclosures coming, people are still being laid off so I don't see unemployment dipping below double digits, and credit lines continue to be cut or people can't get loans.

    If it were up to me, and unfortunately it isn't, I would have told the President and his entourage to stay home, save a few bucks, and put the money to something a tad more practical....like solving our economic problems.

    Well, that's my humble opinion...for what it's worth. But don't feel bad Tom, Mr. Obama hasn't called me either...but maybe he reads my comments when he reads your letters. I have hope....in the season of hope......Stay warm, if you can....and Merry Christmas!

    December 19, 2009 at 2:57 pm |
  5. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    All the leaders at Copenhagan tried there best to make a get away just like kids trying to avoid eating homony so they all agreed to at least smell of it but they will never eat it.

    December 19, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  6. michael armstrong sr. TX.

    Its hard to make an argument on global warming when back home your country's turning into an ice cube .

    December 19, 2009 at 9:48 am |