Guam: Where America’s President Refuels

November 23, 2011

After almost three years in office, President Obama finally visited Guam this week… in the middle of the night, to refuel Air Force One on his way across the Pacific. Hardly what you might call a meaningful visit.

With last-minute warning of the president’s impending arrival, The University of Guam FITE (Fellows for Inquiry Towards Enlightenment) Club organized a protest entitled “Hey Mr. President, Come Meet the Residents,” outside the gates of Guam’s Andersen Air Force Base. Protestors brought banners and posters, including one lit with flashlights and aimed upwards. It read “Guam: Where America’s President Refuels.”

When Obama was first elected, I was genuinely (if naively) optimistic about Guam’s chances for change. After all, there was finally someone in the Oval Office who was both raised in the Pacific, AND from a family that had directly suffered the indignities and injustices of colonialism. If he wouldn’t pay attention, no one would.

But my repeated attempts to simply SEND him a copy of The Insular Empire went nowhere. I believe it’s quite possible that he’s not even aware of Guam’s colonial relationship with the US – though of course he should be, if only for geo-political reasons. One can only hope that he at least peeped out the window of Air Force One as he was landing, and saw the signs of protest shining up at him, and wondered – as Hope Cristobal would say – “what the fuss was all about.”