My favorite part of the ongoing Keystone XL pipeline debacle involves the role of several Native American Sioux tribes in helping to block the world's "dirtiest oil" pipeline -- at least for the moment. The strong stance of these independent nations introduced a new element into the upcoming Senate vote, a wild card which may well have been the deciding factor in the one-vote defeat of Keystone XL, at least for now. If Canada wants to send their tar-sands dirty oil to market, they can send it right across their own nation to Vancouver, and ship it to the Far East from there. They need not -- and should not-- get to send it across their neighbor-to-the-South, the United States of America.
My least-favorite part of the ongoing Keystone XL pipestone debacle involves the role of probably-outgoing Democratic Senator Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, now facing a runoff election with her Republican opponent -- a runoff she fully deserves to lose for her unconscionable pandering to the Louisiana Right Wing Keystone XL advocates. Landrieu's "conversion" to the cause of Pipestone XL came at the expense of her own party, by making Democrats appear as opportunistic and unprincipled. The lesson here will be that such despicable tactics did not help Landrieu, as she goes down to final defeat in her ongoing Senate race. Being a turncoat pseudo-Democrat makes her far worse than her opponent.
Of course, as soon as the new Congress convenes in January, 2015, with its misbegotten Republican majorities of both Houses, undoubtedly Keystone XL will raise its legislative head once again, and undoubtedly this time it will pass. My favorite part of that event would be to see our finally-courageous President exercise his veto power to prevent the implementation of Keystone XL, before tar-sands oil leaks into precious American lands, just as most pipelines inevitably leak their product into the ground, or the air in the case of natural gas. And those leaks do not represent the worst possibilities, such as foreign or domestic terrorist attacks on such pipelines.
It has been the stance of the nearby Native American Sioux tribes, whose leaders and members stated unequivocally that they would stop the pipeline with their bodies, if necessary, and that they would declare war on the United States of America over the violation of 19th century treaties guaranteeing their consultation in all such decisions affecting them and their lands. The proposed Keystone XL route would go through some of those lands, and perhaps their vehement objections could be ameliorated by changing that route to avoid tribal territory. The rest of us Americans, however, need to take a page from the Native American playbook: whatever course Keystone XL would take, it would have to go through our American lands -- we should object just as strongly, and effectively, as did the Sioux. Truly, we are all Shepherds of the Earth -- or at least, we should be. We owe no less to future generations of Americans.
Eugene Elander has been a progressive social and political activist for decades. As an author, he won the Young Poets Award at 16 from the Dayton Poets Guild for his poem, The Vision. He was chosen Poet Laureate of (more...)
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