Sunday, February 17, 2013
350.org and Daryl Hannah
From the Heartland, Margot McMillen writes: Here are four words I never thought I’d write: “Thank you, Daryl Hannah!” Without her arrest, thousands of protestors outside the White House might not have gotten a line of print in the media. There has been, as far as I can tell, a mainstream media blackout. Only the bloggers covered the “Forward on Climate” protest that brought an estimated 40,000 people to Washington DC today. As Jamie Henn, a writer for Huffington Post put it, “It's a movement that has united nearly every environmental group in the country, from grassroots coalitions like the Indigenous Environmental Network to big green groups like the Sierra Club to a new generation of upstarts like 350.org. But it's also a movement that extends far beyond "traditional environmentalists" -- last Wednesday, civil rights leader Julian Bond, the president emeritus of the NAACP was arrested at the White House in a sit-in against Keystone XL.” Julian Bond, of course, recognizes that the fingers of injustice are long and mean. If a company is willing to create injustice on the earth, stealing land and resources from farmers and indigenous peoples, that same company is willing to create injustice on humankind. 40,000 people. That’s hardly a number that can be ignored. Mass arrests, including Daryl Hannah and Robert Kennedy, Jr. are the way this administration has chosen to send their message. Mass arrests will, they think, stop the protestors. For some folks, that will work. Nobody wants to be arrested time after time, pay a fine, do some time, miss the bus back home. But I think the movement has gone past the stage where people are scared of the police. Indeed, being arrested in DC can become a badge of honor. Protestors, including Sierra Club members, are choosing Civil Disobedience as a tactic to get attention. And, if the media doesn’t cover this, it’s another win for the protestors. They’ll become investigators on their own, and learn what’s been happening behind the curtains of big business and bought-off government. This is how revolutions begin. This is what democracy looks like if the peaceful messages are ignored. Obama can step up to the plate and defuse the anger. He can talk to the protestors, stop the pipeline, make his climate change promises real.