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OpEdNews Op Eds    H3'ed 10/29/16

The Shame, The Heartbreak- Another Day In America

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Message Lee Burkett

Here's the thing:
Today, October 27, 2016, I, like many of you, watched live feeds of the events going down at Standing Rock.
I am at a loss to define my feelings. Anger, outrage, pity, fear

One phrase kept going through my mind, like a mantra- This is not my America. This is not my America. This is not my America.

protests at DAPL
protests at DAPL
(Image by Unicorn Riot TV)
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And then in counter-point was the thought- But it is. But it is. But it is.
Over one hundred heavily armed cops in riot gear, supported by military assault vehicles and helicopters forced peaceful, prayerful water protectors from their own land, ceded to them in the Treaty of 1851. The police are nothing more than a mercenary army protecting the interests of the owners of the DAPL.
There was the wail of sound cannons aimed at the protectors, there was tear gas. There were rubber bullets being fired into the crowd.
And in my mind- This is not my America (But it is) This is not my America (But it is) This is not my America (But it is)
This is about water. There's no political ideology here. We cannot live without water. Decisions are being made that effect the future, and the lives of our children and our grandchildren.
This effects all of us. It's not just happening "out there" in the Dakotas or in Iowa or in Texas or in New Mexico. It's everywhere. For god sake, there are already over 2.5 million miles pipeline already installed in the continental United States.
Just the other day, mere miles from where I live a Sunoco pipeline leaked over 55,000 gallons of gasoline into the Susquehanna River, endangering the water for over 6 million people down river.
Where I live, in northeastern Pennsylvania, there are fracking wells all over the place. And an average of 2.8 million of gallons of clean water were filled with known poisons and toxins and pumped under pressure into the aquifer beneath my feet. There are places within miles of where I live that people can set fire to their water.
It's too late for anyone to avoid the destruction, here where I live. We have to deal with the aftermath. The after the fact poisoning of our water and the inevitable leaks and the illnesses and the pockets of strange cancers.
This is a shameful day, for all of us.
I am sick, in heart, mind and spirit, but I have hope.
The battle hasn't even started. Now is when decisions must be made. Hard decisions that will impact on our own sense of comfort and will demand that we risk that comfort, or lose the future. To do nothing is to accept that our children,and our grandchildren will have no clean water to drink, no clean air to breathe, no clean land to live on.
This is not overstating the things. It is not alarmist. It is the simplest of truths.

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Lee Burkett is a proud member of The Screen Actor's Guild and a writer/activist.
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