In the name of civil disobedience: What would YOU stand up for?

Photo by Shaw Thacher

“If the injustice is part of the necessary friction of the machine of government, let it go, let it go: perchance it will wear smooth–certainly the machine will wear out. If the injustice has a spring, or a pulley, or a rope, or a crank, exclusively for itself, then perhaps you may consider whether the remedy will not be worse than the evil; but if it is of such a nature that it requires you to be the agent of injustice to another, then I say, break the law. Let your life be a counter-friction to stop the machine.” Henry David Thoreau, Civil Disobedience

Last week, on the 48th anniversary of Martin Luther King’s “I have a dream” speech–and  what was supposed to be the dedication to the new monument, hurricane Irene hit the East Coast and the festivities and President’s remarks were postponed. But, in the true spirit of Dr. King’s concept of civil disobedience, there were many who would not let the threat of inclement weather stop them from standing up for what they believe in, right outside the White House.  During a week-long protest outside the White House, 1,252 people were arrested in a sustained act of civil disobedience.

Photo by Shaw Thacher

The deal? The Keystone XL pipeline is an expansion to the already operational Keystone pipeline, that transports synthetic crude oil from Northeastern Alberta, Canada.  According to TransCanada, an energy company creating and operating the energy infrastructure in North America, the pipeline is: “an innovative bullet line that brings the crude oil non-stop from Canada to market hubs in the U.S. Midwest.”

The proposed expansion will run all the way to the Gulf of Mexico. The XL pipeline is a “36-inch crude oil pipeline that would begin at Hardisty, Alberta and extend southeast through Saskatchewan, Montana, South Dakota and Nebraska. It would incorporate a portion of the Keystone Pipeline (Phase II) through Nebraska and Kansas to serve markets at Cushing, Oklahoma before continuing through Oklahoma to a delivery point near existing terminals in Nederland, Texas to serve the Port Arthur, Texas marketplace.”

Whoaa.  I just have to say, that’s a lot of backyards!  For better or worse–or maybe worser and worserer–there’s no easy way to transport oil. Hence, the civil disobedience.

Photo by Shaw Thacher

Today the Dalai Lama, Archbishop Desmond Tutu and seven other Nobel laureates sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to approve the pipeline.

Photo by Shaw Thacher

Stay tuned as we try to flush this out a bit more.  I’m living vicariously though our own history.

What does it mean?  How will we remember this? What would YOU get arrested for… anything? I’m curious…



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