Forget Afghanistan and Iraq. Forget war in the Middle East.
Thanks to a vote in the House of Representatives this past week supporting the Keystone XL pipeline, the Lakota Sioux of the Rosebud Reservation have declared war right in our own Middle West. In Nebraska, to be more precise.
Because the pipeline would cross the Rosebud reservation, one of their leaders has described the House vote as "an act of war". Luckily the Senate subsequently voted against the oil pipeline, and President Obama would have overridden Congress if the Senate had voted in favor of the project. But the project is a political football for the GOP, and they plan to keep running with it.
The Rosebud Sioux are absolutely correct in believing that this colossally stupid project is an attack on them. For one thing, it would violate an 1878 treaty regarding their reservation and trample on their sovereignty. (Yes, my darlings, the tribes still have some sovereignty; witness the fishing treaties, gambling casinos, tax-free tobacco, and tribal courts.)
And it would threaten the water in the region's great underground aquifer which is called, appropriately, "the Lakota aquifer".
This water supply is important even beyond the needs of the Rosebud Lakota Sioux, important as those needs are. Ranchers and farmers throughout Nebraska and its environs depend on the aquifer. One terrible pipeline spill, and a great American water source is gone. So is a lot of your food.
All for the sake of Canada being able to tear up its lands to extract filthy stuff known as tar sand oil. This stuff is as filthy as it sounds. And its oil burns one-third more dirty than ordinary crude. It will be put in the pipeline and flow down to the Gulf of Mexico to get shipped somewhere else. Or maybe get spilled in the Gulf? In any case, there's no oil coming to America from this project and no jobs except the ephemeral ones of laying a pipeline. We are just Canada's doormat in this.
The project is especially stupid in a world virtually awash in oil. Gasoline is now less than $3 a gallon here in Oregon, where gasoline prices are usually close to $4 a gallon. More and more, America is moving away from oil to fracted natural gas and renewable energy sources. And President Obama this year put a huge hike on required gas mileage for cars and trucks of the immediate future. This is the first time trucks are going to be affected, meaning all those vans and SUVs will be filling up less often.
The last thing the world needs is Canada's filthy tar oil. Surely there must be investors in this proposed project who can see that.
I love that the Sioux are talking about this proposal in terms of war. Because that's exactly what it is. Idiots like this Canadian bunch and the climate change deniers and all the polluters are making war on all of us.
Haven't you caught on to that yet?
These people are going to kill us.
Or at least kill our grandchildren and their children. The planet is going to go through convulsions of war over food that will kill many people now living or make them wish for death. Civilization will collapse in a mad scramble. Beyond the wars for food, the longer-term scenario of global warming ends with Earth spiraling into the furnacy future of a Venus.
It's as if the Canadians and other polluters were about to launch a nuclear war. The threat is real and it is big-time. There will be no place to hide.
So what to do? Support the environmental groups that are prepared to sue. The Rosebud Lakota Sioux are going to join such legal action, but I don't want to hear any snickering about "the Sioux are gonna sue." This is serious business. Send money to the Environmental Defense Fund, Sierra Club, and other groups. Care enough to find them on-line yourself. This is YOUR war!
Also prod your Democratic office holders with the obvious that they are over-looking. They can't have it both ways. They can't have the educated and the young people as voters who show up at the polls and also have Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana get re-elected by obtaining approval for this stupid pipeline. It's sad to lose that seat but we lost a lot more of them earlier this month because the young people stayed home. They had no reason to vote. They face a non-future and heard nothing about that in this election.
The Democratic Party has got to wise up and stop being coy about environmentalism. It's got to do more of what Obama has begun: fighting global warming and other ghastly destruction of our planet. It also has to have a clear, well-enunciated program for getting people into good-paying jobs. (This proposal must nowhere include the word "infrastructure". We lose whole elections because of that word!) Instead it must be a state by state plan for building specific bridges, roads and schools. Identify the damn things! Be specific!
It doesn't have to be jobs v. the environment. That's the GOP scenario that's working for the GOP. We have got to take the initiative in laying out a different ballpark and stop playing on the GOP's home field. Environment AND jobs!
So, my brother and sister Sioux, where can we sign up to volunteer in this war to save the world? And thank you for cutting through the crap and saying it like it is: We are under attack and in danger of our lives.