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Dispatches From the Edge of Change: Why Montana's Fossil-Fuel Resistance Gives Me Hope

Dispatches From the Edge of Change: Why Montana's Fossil-Fuel Resistance Gives Me Hope

Sarah van Gelder

I started on the Northwest part of this roadtrip to find the places where there is resistance to fossil fuel expansion, and I have found them. But I also found that many of the same people are not only rejecting a paradigm built on exploitation and domination, they are working to build a new post-industrial, post-oil way of life. This is not a left-right issue; it’s happening in college towns, on ranches, Native reservations, and in small towns.

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Genuine conservatism rocks!


Sarah writes that this wasn’t a left-right issue. I think that the oligarchy will find that the people of all stripes, politics, religions, amorphisms ( :innocent:) and whatever will fight to preserve what is theirs. A ‘rightwingnut’ and a ‘leftie libbie’ drink from the same well being poisoned by fracking or drilling and spills. For the longest time the Oligarchy has managed to cast a media manipulated ‘magic spell’ of stupidity over America where people remain divided and conquered. For example the true believers who identified with the rich (but while making working class wages) supported giving two trillion dollars in tax cuts to the rich - that ‘magic spell of stupidity’!

People from the right and the left see their common cause and join together to fight for their homes, their land, their children’s future, their democracy!!!

That old ‘magic spell of stupidity’ is breaking down and it is about time if our children are to have a decent world left to live in.

There is much more hope than many of us realized out there when good folks right and left join together to fight being trampled over by the powerful.

Democracy OF, FOR and BY is still worth saving

…here at the end of the world.

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I tend frequently to think in terms of the ‘divide and conquer’ phenomenon and increasingly of something akin to an art of conceptual jujitsu. Like the rapacious delusions that are built on centuries of premises that function like a net, knots tied in a selected set of cords, the voids created being what makes it ‘work’. The immediate felt experience when centered in an underlying recognition that the creation is elegant beyond any verbal capacity at any given time is, to me, a window on the sacred. The water cycle, inextricably interconnected with all other cycles is an example of an ‘earth bible’ inscribed in the true reality undergirding all from which imposed fragmented systems extract.
A loving discipline of settling in solitude and silence, particularly with ‘others’, letting thoughts rise and evaporate rather than ‘thinking’ is perhaps one of the greatest treasures for accessing the lens of our ignored interconnectedness in being present. Its funny to think that this is frequently (a frequency) known as ‘worship’ when it is a natural way of being alive, long marginalized by ideologies.

I’d bet that all the people mentioned in the article have bits of experience wisdom along these lines and a treasury of teaching stories opening into the spectrum of dynamics we all know but ignore because - well, words never quite cover all of it. But it can be seen in each others eyes and the network of life with wisdom constantly flowing through it.

Heres a bedtime story, for example, to dream on and share with the kids. Jumping Mouse

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Afraid not. Conservatives are not generally environmentalists.

“Although it is not true that all conservatives are stupid people, it is true that most stupid people are conservative”.
John Stewart Mill

A conservative is a man who is too cowardly to fight and too fat to run.
Elbert Hubbard

A conservative is a man with two perfectly good legs who, however, has never learned how to walk forward.
Franklin D. Roosevelt

Interesting article and the high points are most welcome news.

From the article:

“There are two visions for Montana, I’m finding. One includes resource extraction, ecological sacrifice zones, short-term boom-and-bust economics, and long-term damage to soil, air, water, and health. It’s a familiar pattern of colonization: powerful outside interests make big profits, often rolling over local interests. They promise jobs, some sharing of the wealth with local elites, and some taxes.”

This juxtaposition of two opposing worldviews MUST be pointed out if only to turn the all-inclusive term of WE into a frame worthy of dispute.

For some time I have used the frame (or analogy) that many people feel like “the new Natives” as they find themselves on the front lines opposing 21st century colonial style conquests and exploitation. (The pattern is in evidence in Africa, Japan, South America, Central America, Canada, and the U.S. In some places the dominant interests wish to mine for minerals, in others to plunder forests in order to set up cattle ranches; and in still others, it’s the seizure of oil or gas or coal.)

So there truly ARE those who want to be, are learning to be, or are already operating AS stewards of the land, our magnificent Earth Mother, and then there are the old school patriarchs with their rule-by-domination protocols of plunder.

The use of the term WE obscures the former to make only the latter seem viable or operational.

It depends upon what is to be conserved–nature or status quo? As for those who favor the latter, I simply refer to them as troglodytes.

Lions, tigers and bears -Oh My!!! Oops no room…no more. Better make that Roaches, rats and pigeons. Oh crap!!!

The bears have been reduced to a remnant population which has too limited a gene pool which threatens their long term survival with inbreeding. While Native Americans may have tried to limit grizzly populations around their villages, they gave the beast a healthy respect and left it mainly to their dogs to chase the awesome apex predator away from human habitation. In any case there were tens of thousands of grizzlies across the region west of the Mississippi. There were the extraordinarily swift Plains Grizzly, The Mexican Grizzly of the desert regions, the Californian Grizzly who got fat on acorns and salmon, the Pacific Northwest Grizzly which still remains in small numbers and then the Northern Grizzly which seems to be holding their own as yet in Alaska and the coastal areas. (the Kodiak is technically a brown bear as are all grizzlies but a distinct sub species without the grizzled coat…

People move to wilderness and immediately want it to be turned into a park for picnics. Some places belong to Nature (or should) there aren’t many places left that do. If you don’t want to live near the bears… why are you living near the bears then? They can’t move but you surely can.

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Assuming that these Montanans are not working from a narrow NIMBY perspective, then they look pretty “left” and not at all “right” to me.

That concept that a pro-capitalist, pro-wealth-concentration-without limit “right”, and an anti-capitalist, pro-worker, pro-economic egalitarianism “left”, is somehow no longer a valid concept is nonsense.

Er… the passenger pigeon (like the Carolina Parakeet - a parrot that ranged as far north as New York) was driven to extinction by hunting and habitat fragmentation… by white poeple. Your suggestion that some kind of overpopulation of Passenger Pigeons occurred due to the removal in indigenous Americans sounds like more of that ideology-driven pseudo-science to me.

And regarding wilderness areas, isn’t the main objection the motorized vehicle prohibitions in these areas? Was the west (and too many parts of the east too) always being torn up by people on noisy, smelly, erosion-and ugly mud hole creating, dirt bikes, ATV’s, gators, and Jeeps?

Hubris. Nothing else.
Monstrous conceit.
Sad to have to say this.
Change is coming. Welcome it or die.

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Were that everything was so simple and so clearly black or white. People aren’t divided into two opposing camps in case you haven’t noticed, except to the Rush Limbaughs of the world.

A republican voting rancher and his/her democrat voting neighbor may see common cause when they are both told to not drink the water in their wells.

Moreover that republican rancher who couldn’t afford to send junior to college and keep the ranch might think why do we spend so much on foreign wars when so much needs fixing back here at home. That democrat might wonder why her mom’s healthcare is putting the family ranch in hock.

They might be sitting next to each other at the local Red Barn Bar one night as neighbors do and realize they both agree on lots of issues.

There was a time when the right thought they were right even when they knew they were wrong but not when they can’t drink their own well water.

Believe it. Times are changing and ordinary Americans are waking up to the fact that the powerful are not concerned about ordinary people whether right or left. That has finally sunk in to a lot of people where it never had sunk in before.

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