Letter: Dimon, At the core of right and wrong and choice
At the core of right and wrong and choice
The world may not remember Wounded Knee, Trail of Tears, Horseshoe Bend, The Sand Creek Massacre or other atrocities Native Americans endured over the centuries. A victory at Standing Rock alone certainly will not bring back the nine million plus Native Americans who have died as a result of massacres, torture, cold, hunger and disease. And although Standing Rock cannot right the wrong of yesterday, it is not far removed from the subject, as it is primarily about right and wrong and choices that affect us all; and at the core, is our common decency defaced by repeated blows from billion dollar projects like the Dakota Access pipeline whose fundamental vision of America always comes down to greed and those who come in contact with it, injury or death. Yes, the pipeline will create millions of dollars of revenue for the state and create temporary jobs but at the risk of threatening the only water source for 15 million people and the entire Sioux nation and consequently their land cleverly stripped from them once again. On the contrary, oil companies are not looking out for America. They are looking out for themselves. And they are exactly what they seem to be—Spiritless. As they sound the trumpet 14 miles before the finish line, with no authority but their bulldozers, lawyers, and local law enforcement and security dogs while pretending to service the demands of the people, creating the illusion that it is useless to struggle against Corporate America. But they are wrong, because fighting the Dakota Pipeline is not just about stopping the exploitation of Native Americans. It is about stopping the exploitation of all of us—Native American, European, Mexican, Asian, brown, black, or white. Above all else, it is about what we stand for. And if we stand by and do nothing we stand for nothing. If we stand by and let oil company after oil company, and what ultimately amounts to their desire for a higher profit margin sneak in and take what is not theirs and intrude into our homes, then we also have nothing. If we stand by and allow our larger sense of self, our identity and values to be reduced to mass produced objects like oil, then, we are no one, and our natural rights just an illusion. And as the famous novelist, philosopher and playright, Ayn Rand once said, “you can ignore reality, but you can’t ignore the consequences of ignoring reality.”
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