Less than six months into his term, Barack Obama's face, or at least part of his face, has already appeared briefly on Mount Rushmore, courtesy of Greenpeace. Evidently the Park Service did not feel this was an appropriate place for the group to exercise its First Amendment rights, for the banner only hung for about an hour.
It is interesting that people who feel strongly about this cause--or any cause, really--often see a dichotomy between leadership and politics. Perhaps that is because they see the issue as so urgent and so important, that it seems to admit of no compromise. It's also interesting that Greenpeace's banner suggests that these four former presidents are leaders, not politicians. For the truth is that Washington, Jefferson, Roosevelt and Lincoln were all consummate politicians, as well as visionary leaders. Lincoln, for example, was careful not to take too strong a position against slavery until the country was ready for that change. Barack Obama is also a master of the art of the possible, and because of that, he has already been able to move forward significantly on environmental issues, though not as far or as fast as advocates such as Greenpeace would prefer.