706 Tea Party members arrested in prolonged demonstrations in front of the White House … protesting that President Bachman (or Perry or …) wasn’t living up her promise to send climate scientists to prison.
This sort of event would get banner headlines. A series of events, with people being arrested every day, would be banner headlined in every single newspaper, every single day, with panicked discussions on the Sunday talk shows, lights on late in the night in the White House …
Yet, every day since 20 August, people who worked hard to help get President Obama elected have been in front of the White House facing police ready to arrest them. Reluctantly, yet joyfully, stepping forward in mass civil disobedience to have their voices heard about the risks of shale oil and the need for this nation to step away from seeking to feed its oil addiction from the environmental destructive Alberta tar sands mining and the catastrophic implications of its carbon emissions profile.
Distressingly, too few Americans are even aware of these protests. Yesterday’s arrest of Darryl Hannah certainly opened the aperture a bit. After all, a beautiful movie star is a draw not just in the movie theater. Along with movie stars, arrestees have included religious leaders, Nobel Prize-winning scientists, grandmothers, college students, and hundreds of others. These arrests of people seeking to help foster decision-making that will improve America’s chances to navigate the dangerous perfect storm of Peak Oil and Climate Change have had fitful, at best, attention from the national media.
Let us call out, for a moment, one outlet: National Public Radio. Today, Talk of the Nation covered this with: Canadian Oil Pipeline Plan Meets Resistance. This session options with “every day over the past two weeks, a small group of demonstrators has gathered outside the White House”. Over 700 arrestees outside the White House and, well, NPR has finally come around to doing its first story. Imagine the uproar against this supposed ‘lefty’ media outlet if 7 Tea Party-ites arrested at the White House didn’t receive coverage for over ten days. And, their efforts were commented as ‘small group’ … Honestly, the substantive discussions of the Tar Sands and the pipeline fits
Right now, the President faces a decision — does he kowtow to Canadian financial interests waging a disinformation campaign to influence American policy toward a dirtier energy future that will, inevitably, undermine American security and prosperity? Or, will he stand up to
There are those that assert that President Obama cannot act to stop the Keystone XL pipeline since it will expose him to attacks that his policies drive up gasoline prices at the pumps. Let us face facts, the interests making those arguments will make them no matter what is going on in the White House. As with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, they are not interested in good policy but simply in assuring that President Obama is a one-term president. Even though oil profits are atmospheric at this time, these are not sufficient profit rates and they see themselves as even richer with a Republican President. And, well, if they fail in getting that, they will leverage every moment for every extra cent of profit — no matter the energy security, health, economic, or environmental implications. To understand this, how many Americans realize that domestic oil production has actually increased during President Obama’s time in office and that drilling rates are higher than any time since record keeping began in 1987? Policies that promote draining America’s oil reserves as fast as possible (DRILL, BABY, DRILL) don’t seem to make much sense when the U.S. economy represents over 20 percent of global demand while domestic reserves are just a few percent of global reserves. Pumping our reserves faster simply means greater reliance on foreigners tomorrow.
If a group of Tea Partyites risked arrest to have their views heard, it seems almost certain that the American media outlets would bend over backwards to give them (more than) their time in the spotlight. Here are people calling, in peaceful civil disobedience, for the President to live up to the standards he set for himself and for the President to pursue policies in accord with scientific knowledge and the media spotlighting of these efforts is — generously speaking — flickering.
NOTE: Related discussion If the Tea Party visited the White House, would America know? discussing the paucity of coverage of youth climate activists meeting in the White House this this past April along with President Obama’s meeting with these Powershift leaders. A basic question to consider: Would you go to jail in the fight against Climate Disruption?