If the United States is going to move forward in a progressive direction it will be forced to do so from the ground up, kicking and screaming. The encampment blocking the Dakota Access pipeline is today’s best hope.
If the world is saved from environmental disaster it will be because ordinary people took action, not because politicians legislated it. The pipeline represents the interests of money and power; it is an attempt to entrench and solidify an energy infrastructure that is both dirty and heavily controlled by monied interests. The fight against it is a battle for the future. It is an attempt to stop this machine before it rolls over all of us and cannibalizes itself.
This week thousands of veterans are ‘deploying’ to the protest camps and it’s generated a lot of excitement. Not for me. Just the same as we shouldn’t be looking toward politicians to dismantle the system which granted them power, we also shouldn’t be relying on a group that once served as the armed protectors of that system. It’s great that people are going, but no more or less because they once wrapped themselves in a flag and held a gun.
I do think this is an important battle–physically stopping this pipeline–and admire the people out there doing it. But, for most of us, the fight is much less sensational. It is our daily lives. Yes, sure, help by sending money or sharing news from there but the war will be won once we stop relying on elections and others. It will be won once we stop buying stocks that rise when pipelines are built; it will be won once we stop ignoring the consequences of what we eat and buy; it will be won once we stop waiting for someone else to do it for us.