Speaker of the House Paul Ryan (D-WI) is not happy with President Obama’s humanitarian intervention in the Dakota Access Pipeline Sunday. This was Paul Ryan’s reaction, posted to twitter, and proving once and for all that cartoon villains do exist:
This is big-government decision-making at its worst. I look forward to putting this anti-energy presidency behind us. https://t.co/Qu0nFTmGZv
— Paul Ryan (@SpeakerRyan) December 5, 2016
For a dose of reality, this is how filmmaker Josh Fox describes the reaction of the veterans to the treatment of DAPL protesters by the police:
“What you do to the water protectors you do to the United States Constitution. We are sworn to uphold and protect the United States Constitution against all enemies, foreign and domestic. And they’re saying listen, if you wanna burn the United States Constitution, you have to go through us. It’s quite a brave and amazing act that’s never happened in the history of the United States, that two thousand veterans just said you know what? Shoot at us first.”
Now re-read Speaker Ryan’s words again.
The reality of it is that after weeks of waiting and repeated calls for his intervention, President Obama, who had earlier said he would let things play out, came through for #NoDAPL protesters with the announcement that there would be no easement granted allowing the pipeline to cross under Lake Oahe in North Dakota.
The move was widely celebrated by the estimated 20,000 residents of the Oceti Sakowin camp. This included Veterans Stand for Standing Rock – up to 3,500 veterans who arrived to help over the weekend, intending to place themselves between the peaceful protesters and the heavily militarized police.
The police who had spent the previous weeks giving the protesters a hefty dose of “blunt trauma and open wounds.”
One veteran, Mark Sanderson, a former Army Sergeant who served in Iraq, told Vice News,
“Our goal is to stand there and if need be take the rounds for the First Nations people so they can do their thing.”
Obviously, contrary to Ryan’s claims, this is not the case of an anti-energy president using “big-government” to trample the “rights” of the fossil fuel industry to make money at whatever human cost. This was a case of the people begging, literally begging for the government to intervene, while they bled and suffered in a cold North Dakota winter.
As an approving Interior Secretary Sally Jewell said in a statement,
— Sally Jewell (@SecretaryJewell) December 4, 2016
This is not a victory of big government and it is impossible to characterize it as such. This is a victory of the people, by a small group of people, the Sioux, and their allies, on behalf of all Americans. The fight against DAPL was very much grass-roots activism. Obviously, unlike the Tea Party, there were no corporations funding it.
As The Young Turks’ Ana Kasparian put it,
“Not only is it a victory 4 water protectors, it’s an example of how powerful unrelenting activism can be.”
And this is what Paul Ryan really hates. Not only President Obama keeping his word to Native Americans but Republicans the people speaking. They only like it when the people pretend to speak, as with the false populism of Donald Trump.
When people really truly speak out, they are treated as rioters and anarchists and get the age-old response of authoritarianism to free speech: rubber bullets, truncheons, attack dogs, pepper spray, and mass arrest.
Rest assured, Paul Ryan will be happy to see big-government decision-making “at its best”: employing force when a greedy, corporate-owned Republican president who stands to profit off cultural genocide and ecological terrorism, is giving the orders.
Trump and his money-grubbing allies among the elite may be angry, but the federal government was not instituted to protect corporations, but the people. Paul Ryan would like to pretend the Constitution says “We the corporations,” but it says “We the people,” and President Obama’s actions were not “anti-energy” but pro “We the people.”
Hrafnkell Haraldsson, a social liberal with leanings toward centrist politics has degrees in history and philosophy. His interests include, besides history and philosophy, human rights issues, freedom of choice, religion, and the precarious dichotomy of freedom of speech and intolerance. He brings a slightly different perspective to his writing, being that he is neither a follower of an Abrahamic faith nor an atheist but a polytheist, a modern-day Heathen who follows the customs and traditions of his Norse ancestors. He maintains his own blog, A Heathen’s Day, which deals with Heathen and Pagan matters, and Mos Maiorum Foundation www.mosmaiorum.org, dedicated to ethnic religion. He has also contributed to NewsJunkiePost, GodsOwnParty and Pagan+Politics.