What The DAPL Victory Means For All Of Us

What The DAPL Victory Means For All Of Us

Why their victory means more than just re-routing.
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For the past few months, protesters in Standing Rock, North Dakota have contested the construction of a pipeline which would contaminate the drinking waters of the resident Native American people. These peaceful protesters have been met with forceful opposition from law enforcement in the form of tear gas, rubber bullets, and water cannons. On Friday, it was announced that the protesters were to evacuate the area by Monday, December 5th in lieu of facing arrest. However, the protesters refused to leave, choosing instead to hold their ground.

After months of peacefully protesting at Standing Rock, the construction of the Dakota Access Pipeline has officially been re-routed. The Stand With Standing Rock movement's seemingly endless fight against the Dakota Access Pipeline has been recognized by officials throughout the nation.

Protesting has always been a staple of American culture -- our country started as a series of protests which built up to become the first successful war for independence from colonization. The first amendment of our constitution grants us the right to assemble; this ability has been exercised many times throughout history to varying degrees of success. However, the decided impact of these demonstrations hinges on the use of peaceful protest.

Peaceful protesting and non-violent resistance is an interesting concept, to say the very least. What makes peaceful protesting difficult is when human nature gets in the way. When we get worked up about an issue that is very near and dear to our hearts, oftentimes our emotions take over for our actions. Tensions are further heightened when government-endorsed military personnel use extensive, harmful measures to combat those protesting in peace.

Let me be clear: this is not excusing violent behavior, but providing an explanation as to why something peaceful can come to be the opposite. Along with that, it is not an attack on law enforcement or the police force, but a commentary on how things have been handled.

There have been examples of protests that started out as peaceful and were then lead to violence because of the presence of military force. And, along with that, there are protests that were not always peaceful that were also met with military force. We can look at the Kent State protests against the Vietnam War, which included mild violence from the protesters, but was met with the infamous shooting of students by the Ohio National Guard and other forces.

Another example includes the 1999 World Trade Organization protests in Seattle, which was an assembly of peaceful protesters who sought to disrupt the World Trade Organization Ministerial Coreference. It eventually spiraled into protesters smashing windows and blocking intersections but was met with tear gas, pepper spray, and other forces from the National Guard, and the Seattle police.

Some of the most powerful examples of peaceful protests in the past century have been immortalized in photographs. The Montgomery Bus Boycott, headed by Rosa Parks in Montgomery, Alabama from 1955-56. The 1963 March on Washington lead by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. When, in 1967, a group of hippies and anti-Vietnam War activists facing the National Gaurd with flowers, not guns.1968 Olympic gold and bronze medalists, Tommie Smith and John Carlos respectively, holding their fists in the air as a silent, peaceful statement for the ongoing oppression of African Americans in America.


To look to more modern day examples, we don't have to look far. The summer of 2014 started one of the most powerful movements in recent American history:the Black Lives Matter movement. Regardless of your opinion on those who stand for BLM, it cannot be denied that they have become one of the most prominent groups in modern day society. They started coming together with the murder of Eric Garner in Staten Island, who was put in a chokehold by police for selling untaxed cigarettes. This death was the first of many that summer: Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, which lead to weeks of protesting; Walter Scott in South Carolina, and Freddie Grey in Baltimore.

The above cases fuel the fire of BLM because they are three black men who were met with fatal force from police officers. While the innocence of the men in question is debatable, the fact that they were murdered by police officers is infuriating, to say the very least. The BLM movement induces a confusing dichotomy -- people are mad at the police for acting against these men with brutal force, and on the surface, it seems as if these people are protesting against the police force as a whole. As if they detest them, and show them no respect. However, this is not the case. These people are looking for justice and fair treatment from a system which has systematically been against them for generations.

And more recently, upon the results of the 2016 Presidential Election, students and other groups throughout America have been coming together to make their opinions known about Donald Trump, the president-elect, and his platform. These anti-Trump protests have died down since the week after the election, but their importance remains: the people are once again unhappy, therefore they are exercising their right to assemble and make their voices heard.

The importance of the victory at Standing Rock is one for the American people: those who are struggling to be heard in a nation that doesn't want to hear them. Those who are fighting for equal rights which are currently being denied. Those who are wronged by systematic injustice which has been in place for generations.

In spite of any flack they may receive from various sources, peaceful protesting works. Especially in the face of violence and disdain. Congratulations, those who fought against the Dakota Access Pipeline. Your victory is an important stone in the pathway to justice.

Cover Image Credit: "Flower Power" by Bernie Boston

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I'm The Girl Who'd Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

You raise your protest picket signs and I’ll raise my white picket fence.
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Social Media feeds are constantly filled with quotes on women's rights, protests with mobs of women, and an array of cleverly worded picket signs.

Good for them, standing up for their beliefs and opinions. Will I be joining my tight-knit family of the same gender?

Nope, no thank you.

Don't get me wrong, I am not going to be oblivious to my history and the advancements that women have fought to achieve. I am aware that the strides made by many women before me have provided us with voting rights, a voice, equality, and equal pay in the workforce.

SEE ALSO: To The Girl Who Would Rather Raise A Family Than A Feminist Protest Sign

For that, I am deeply thankful. But at this day in age, I know more female managers in the workforce than male. I know more women in business than men. I know more female students in STEM programs than male students. So what’s with all the hype? We are girl bosses, we can run the world, we don’t need to fight the system anymore.

Please stop.

Because it is insulting to the rest of us girls who are okay with being homemakers, wives, or stay-at-home moms. It's dividing our sisterhood, and it needs to stop.

All these protests and strong statements make us feel like now we HAVE to obtain a power position in our career. It's our rightful duty to our sisters. And if we do not, we are a disappointment to the gender and it makes us look weak.

Weak to the point where I feel ashamed to say to a friend “I want to be a stay at home mom someday.” Then have them look at me like I must have been brain-washed by a man because that can be the only explanation. I'm tired of feeling belittled for being a traditionalist.

Why?

Because why should I feel bad for wanting to create a comfortable home for my future family, cooking for my husband, being a soccer mom, keeping my house tidy? Because honestly, I cannot wait.

I will have no problem taking my future husband’s last name, and following his lead.

The Bible appoints men to be the head of a family, and for wives to submit to their husbands. (This can be interpreted in so many ways, so don't get your panties in a bunch at the word “submit”). God specifically made women to be gentle and caring, and we should not be afraid to embrace that. God created men to be leaders with the strength to carry the weight of a family.

However, in no way does this mean that the roles cannot be flipped. If you want to take on the responsibility, by all means, you go girl. But for me personally? I'm sensitive, I cry during horror movies, I'm afraid of basements and dark rooms. I, in no way, am strong enough to take on the tasks that men have been appointed to. And I'm okay with that.

So please, let me look forward to baking cookies for bake sales and driving a mom car.

And I'll support you in your endeavors and climb to the top of the corporate ladder. It doesn't matter what side you are on as long as we support each other, because we all need some girl power.

Cover Image Credit: Unsplash

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The Revival Of The Coal Industry Is Unattainable

Clean beautiful coal will never be a reality. President Trump's backing of a declining industry is misguided and will have despairing environmental impacts.

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The coal industry and its workers were placed at the forefront of American politics during the 2016 election cycle. President Trump promised a revival of the coal industry and promised to secure the jobs of coal country. The President, halfway through his first term, has so far taken measures to do just that. Trump withdrew from the Paris Climate Agreement, threw out Obama's Clean Power Plan, and did away with an Obama-era regulation that would prevent coal ash from entering streams and other bodies of water.

On one hand, it's quite extraordinary for a politician to do good on his campaign promises. On the other hand, is anyone considering whether or not the President is putting all his eggs into the wrong basket? Coal has been on the decline for about a decade now. Even without environmental regulations, the energy produced by coal is expected to reduce by 20% by 2030. Renewable energy such as wind and solar are replacing coal.


For an election campaign, it's easy to see why a candidate would align with coal. States like West Virginia and Pennsylvania are key when running a national campaign. The votes are there in those counties that support the coal industry. They will vote for any candidate who sides with their industry. But from an environmental standpoint, there's more on the line than just an election. It's about our clean air and water. Climate change is real and the effects of coal will only accelerate the process.

Coal ash that finds its way into water streams can damage that water supply for good. It could also impact the wildlife within the area. Coal also pollutes the air we breathe. Clean coal is a myth. Plain and simple. Coal is anything but clean. Clean coal sounds good in a stump speech, but we all know it's a fallacy.

Mountaintop mining also has a deep environmental impact. The Appalachian mountains have been destroyed from surface mining. West Virginia residents hold their beautiful mountains in high regard. Now, some of them look very different and the destruction is permanent. If the mining continues, the mountains of the Appalachia region will be gone. It would be a shame if you went to West Virginia to admire their mountains, and none were left.

In 1906, President Theodore Roosevelt passed the American Antiquities Act of 1906. Roosevelt protected 230 million acres of land during his presidency. Roosevelt understood the importance of conservation and preserving our nation's natural beauty. The same natural beauty that God envisioned. We should not take that for granted. We should restore our mountains, forests, and lakes so that our children's children can reside in the richness of our natural environment.

President Roosevelt also ended the coal strike in 1902. The United States was much more dependent on coal in the 20th century than it is now. Roosevelt knew the coal strike had to be resolved because the cold winter would have been fatal. The change of the Republican party over a century later is quite intriguing to ponder. The party went from a strong conservationist in Roosevelt to Trump, who is willing to move mountains for a dying industry.

All of these facts surrounding the coal debate cannot be ignored. The rest of the western world will move on to new forms of renewable energy. While the United States will be stuck in neutral, reviving coal. Renewable energy should be strongly considered if we are to protect our water, air, and lands.

Disclaimer: I understand the risks coal miners make when they show up for work. I know that safety regulations are not always up to par and that coal mining is a very dangerous profession. I also understand the viewpoint of coal miners and their reasoning for disagreeing with me. I know they want to work and provide for their families. That's what we all want to do. As I write this, I wish not to offend coal miners, I only aim to critique the President and his policies about the coal industry.

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