Sunday, December 4, 2016

#noDAPL - Why It Matters to Me Personally

I am but an old leaf,
but I come from
a mighty tree.

Why do I care? The pipeline does not go through my backyard. I am not of the First Nations. I do not myself drink of the river's water. Why do I care? 

I was an Archaeologist for over a decade. I have knowledge of the efforts to exterminate or forcefully enculturate those who lived here first because they were in the way of "progress". With greater knowledge comes greater responsibility - I may not keep silent without becoming even more complicit than my comfortable position of white privilege already makes me. How can I lie by omission? 

I was a Planner for over two decades. Repeatedly, I saw gray infrastructure projects located away from affluent subdivisions and forced through "vacant" farmland or "unused" open-space. Now that I am retired I am free to speak out, therefor, I am honor-bound to do so. How can I judge people as being more disposable for having less money, power, and influence? 

I was a Preservationist too. I saw an ever-increasing number of new pipelines cross through my county for the "public weal". Private pipelines bringing foreign products through our land to ports for shipping overseas to foreign customers. "It's the economy stupid!" they say. How can I not speak to power, calling them to claim their lies of prosperity for all?

I have been a Christian for just a short while. How can I not be against social and environmental injustice whenever and wherever I see it and still call myself a follower of Jesus Christ? The God of Amos and Micah and Malachi drives me to prophesy! How can I ignore the Spirit's breath within me?

I am a Grandfather, a Father, a Husband, a Child, a Preacher, a Poet, a Photographer, a Human-being - how can I do anything but shout and scream and rage in the Wilderness; even if my words are lost and carried off by the wind?

I am an old man, but do I not come from a mighty Tree?

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