Taking it to the streets
Today was Arctic Refuge Action Day. ARAD to dorks. What it means to most people: Nothing. What it means to Congress: Little bit. What it means to me and the people there: Trying our hardest to make government listen to common sense despite staggering odds that they won’t. What it means to me and my co-workers: a 13-hour work day.
Basically all of the environmental groups in the country, plus a few religious groups and Indian tribes, got together in the thousands to storm the Capitol. Brief rundown is that since 1980, grassroots groups and Congressional Democrats have either held the votes or pulled fancy tricks to stop drilling in one of the last untouched areas in the world. This year we don’t have either. Republicans have such strong numbers, that rather than taking Arctic drilling to the floor and risking a filibuster, they’ve tacked it on to the president’s budget, knowing that party line ought to hold and toss the oil industry a kajillion dollar payoff. Oil and gas giants win, proving that the richest special interest in the world never loses, and keeping the world spiraling toward self-destructive oil dependency (foreign and domestic) for generations to come, at the expense of the last tiny chunk of America’s Arctic heritage and hundreds of wildlife species. Oh, and 10 years from now, we get 6 months of oil that doesn’t lower gas prices a dime.
But hey, we need oil, right? (wrong). That’s enough of that. Going to this rally, on the lawn of the nation’s Capitol no less, and actually facilitating the process (all week we were wrangling Virginians to pound on the door of their swing vote Rep) was a pretty great experience. Big speakers showed up: Kerry, Hillary, Lieberman, Raul Grijalva, Ed Markey (my favorite), Tom Udall. Great stuff. And even though the odds are stacked against the cause, and moderates are saying ‘why not just let them drill?’ and skeptical liberals are saying it’s a lost cause, politics are politics, and anything can happen. And just the fact that in this political climate, an event like this can happen, and this many ordinary folks gather from around the country, and this many A-list politicans make fire and brimstone speeches on the Capitol lawn… it feels good. And it feels good to be there, no matter what happens. Because at least this many people care that progress may lose the day in the end. And they’re going to kick and scream and shout and dress up like bears as long as it takes to stop something that just isn’t right and doesn’t make sense. If it’s all a waste of time, at least all those people said something. Got a sunburn for it. That’s all.
Capitol. Can’t tell or remember the speaker.
Guy dressed like a bear, cause everyone likes a little dress up.
Me holding a sign. I didn’t make up that ridiculous slogan. I did draw the caribou, and I’m really proud of it. I was holding this sign and this little fat train worker came up and said: “Hey, last year it cost me 50 bucks to fill my Escalade. This year it costs 100.” I said, “Maybe it’s time to buy a different car.” He said, “That’s your answer! Fuck the deer!”
Me looking busy and serious.