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No matter what happens with the Dakota Pipeline, Trump is a loser

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The Dakota Access oil pipeline is another of those issues I haven’t taken a solid stand on, until now, due to my philosophy: I’m not going to have a position on a complicated topic I haven’t studied and don’t understand. It seems to me that too many people on both sides, red and blue, make up their minds based on kneejerk reactions. I don’t want to join that parade.

My problem with deciding about the pipeline was the same old one my Gemini mind often has, an “on the one hand, on the other” choice wherein I can see the issue—as Joni Mitchell once sang–from both sides. I understand we need oil in this country. I own a car; I need to drive; it would be very inconvenient for me not to have gas, or to have to pay two or three times what I pay now. That’s an argument for the pipeline.

On the other hand, I also understand the need to get away from fossil fuels. We’re not going to do that overnight, but this drill, baby, drill mindset doesn’t seem to be getting us any closer to a future of renewable energy. And I also understand the sensitivities of our Native American people, with whom we (America) have broken so many treaties. So those are arguments against the pipeline. And, I have to add, the fact that the most rightwing elements in this country are always in favor of more oil and against alternative energy also makes me suspicious of the pipeline. The right isn’t always wrong, but they usually are.

So I’ve avoided taking a firm position—until now. This is my coming-out party: I’m against it.

My decision takes place against the backdrop of the Army Corps of Engineer’s decision the other day to deny a permit to the pipeline’s builder, Energy Transfer Partners, which is being portrayed in the media as a huge victory for the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe, who initiated the protests against the pipeline’s planned route near their water supply. As the Sioux were supported by thousands and thousands of others, including U.S. veterans, my sympathies began to shift towards them, but it wasn’t until yesterday, when I read an editorial in the Wall Street Journal, that I decided to come down on the no-pipeline side. Here’s why, and it has to do with what I said above—that the far right seems to favor the pipeline in a way that’s rigidly ideological and short-sighted, as the right so often is.

To begin with, the editorial’s headline was “Obama’s Last Stand.” That should tell you something: this isn’t objective reporting, it’s another hit piece on the President from a newspaper owned by Rupert Murdoch, a rightwing billionaire who’s been trying to bring Obama down for years. The editorial is filled with snarky phrases: “the environmental left” is one (why is being for the environment a left or right issue? It’s a human issue). The Corps is engaging in “political obstruction.” How does the Journal know? Have they done their due diligence and studied every aspect of this issue, the way the Army Corps of Engineers has? Besides, who’s the Wall Street Journal to talk about political obstruction? The Journal—no stranger to smears, any less than Murdoch’s rancid Fox News—alleges the Corps has “jeopardized its integrity.” Really? According to whom, the Wall Street Journal? I suspect that tens of millions of Americans believe the Corps’ integrity has been enhanced. Finally, the Journal insults everyone who was against the pipeline by calling them “no-fossil-fuel greens who have turned the [pipeline] into a Battle of the Alamo.” You know, the right hates it when people caricature them as wingnuts. But apparently the Wall Street Journal can disparage their political enemies at will.

Trump has insisted he’s in favor of the pipeline, even as reports circulate that he owns part of it. And that’s what has brought me to my better-late-than-never opposition to it. This is about more than a mere pipeline. Much more. It’s about more than the Sioux, or their water rights, or the price of gas. The rising up of the Standing Rock Sioux will, I believe, eventually be seen to be the beginning of a determined opposition to Republicans, to Trumpism, and to the narrow, parochial interests of the tea party. Americans who have been opposed to Trump and everything he stands for have been looking for something to rally around since the election. Now we’re found it. I really, really hope Trump, after he’s sworn in, decides to reverse the Corps of Engineers and re-approve the pipeline, because if he does, we’re going to have a showdown up there in North Dakota, and throughout the U.S. for that matter. People will flock to the streets, and we will be on the winning side.

Because this is an easy issue to wrap your head around. Even the vets, who supposedly favored Trump, get it. Bismarck, North Dakota’s capital city, somehow managed to get the pipeline routed away from itself and onto Indian lands.

Why? How did that happen? Even if we’ll never know the real story, it’s unfair on the face of it. Put a white city at risk? No way, man. Let’s dump it on the Indians. But then, that’s the Republican Party for you. As I pointed out in my post yesterday, this is a party that has declared war on empathy, on fairness, on even trying to understand the feelings and thoughts of people who aren’t white, Christian conservatives. Theirs is a political philosophy (if you can call it that) that is odious to me. We all have to stand against allowing such a nasty attitude get any farther than it already has. And that’s what the pipeline represents to me: a symbol. “This far, and no farther. Over our dead bodies.”

So, Trump, you can’t win this one. Swallow this defeat gracefully and move on, although that’ll entail pissing off your people—or show your usual vengeance and try to ram the pipeline through and stir up a hornet’s nest coast to coast. Either way, you lose.

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