The Black Politico

Orlando politics and more -- from a black perspective

The Dakota Access Pipeline; an Open Wound in America

While the vast majority of Americans were celebrating Thanksgiving, America’s government and corporate America hit Native Americans with cannons of cold water during freezing temperatures to keep them away from a billion dollar project.

I’m sure you’ve seen the #NoDAPL hashtags on social media. It’s the reference to the Dakota Access Pipeline that is currently in construction on Native American treaty land.

Some wonder why Native Americans are all up in arms about this pipeline.

The reasoning is simple.

They want to continue to have clean water and they want the clean water to flow for generations from now. The pipeline is being constructed in and on treaty land in North Dakota. Approval was not given by the Native American Chairpersons or appropriate Boards for the federal government and Energy Transfer Partners, a corporation, to construct the pipeline running through sacred land.

This is important because Energy Transfer Partners is a for-profit company building a pipeline that could easily contaminate the drinking water of the Native Americans who live there. Their water could become as contaminated as the water in Flint, Michigan and eventually lead to a decline in health for those residents.
The answer should be, to reroute the pipeline into an approved area and away from the land which the protestors are fighting to protect.
But, that would cost in excess of dollars which the corporation and the federal government are unwilling to pay or forfeit. If that happened, the project would have to be stalled and that would cost more time and money. Instead, the pipeline project is continuing to snake its way through Standing Rock, which is the sacred land protestors are peacefully fighting to protect.
The function of this pipeline is to fill it with oil transport it. According to the DAPL website, the pipeline will transport almost half a million barrels of oil per day and it’s capacity is 570,000 barrels. Historically, pipelines have broken often. Once the pipelines break, the oil seeps into the water and while oil and water don’t mix, it will get into the drinking and bathing water of the people living on the land atop the pipeline. By this time next year, the pipeline is expected to be fully operational.

This is no cheap project. It’s a 3.7 billion, with a “b”, dollar investment by the government, stakeholders and Energy Transfer Partners. The project promises to grow the economy and create thousands of jobs. The problem is the people who live there are more concerned about their health and welfare as opposed to money. As far as this project is concerned, all Native Americans want is to get the corporations and federal government off their land and to keep their water clean. Protestors are not asking for jobs. Protestors are not asking for money. The people of Standing Rock are not even asking to profit from this project.

Native Americas are simply asking to be left alone and for the pipeline project to stop so they may maintain their way of life.

While we celebrated Thanksgiving, a historical time in which Europeans sat down to feast with Native Americans, has been transformed.

The federal government and big corporations shot Native Americans with rubber bullets, sprayed them with freezing water in subzero temperatures and arrested Indigenous People on their own land simply because they are refusing the construction of a pipeline on their native and treaty land. Indigenous People would rather keep their water clean for the present lives that inhabit the land and for generations to come. Listening to the stories and watching the attacks fueled by the government and big corporations should lead us all to think about what’s happening to Indigenous People on the land they inhabited prior to Christopher Columbus’ arrival. This is more than a blemish for America. It’s an embarrassment, an open wound and a national shame to take over sacred and treaty land and impose violence on non-violent protestors as they stand together for clean water on their own property.

Trump Swiftly Constructs Administration While President Obama Addresses the Nation; Supporters

Democrats, your grieving period is going to have to come to a quick end.

This is reality. No, it’s not a reality show, it’s our American reality.
While some Democrats, Independents and No Party Affiliated voters are still blaming each other for the election’s outcome, protesting in the street and sharing safety pins on Facebook, we must move forward strategically and quickly by first accepting the fact that Donald Trump will be our next President.
And, the President-Elect is not wasting any time by pulling together his transition team which is made up of his children, Rudy Giuliani, Ben Carson, Newt Gingrich, Pam Bondi, Chris Christie and Stephen Bannon, who is an ultra conservative, to say the least. Those mentioned here are just some of the names on his transition list, however the list continues even suggesting an inclusion of Trump’s ex-wife Ivana. She is rumored to be putting her name in the hat to become an Ambassador while Trump’s son-in-law, Jared Kushner is going to have a significant role in the administration.

Unfortunately, we have no idea of the qualifications of many of those said to be appointed. As those who will be governed, it is up to us to find out.

As for the election results, unfortunately, the mathematics of this outcome is as true as it was when Clinton was nominated last summer at the Democratic National Convention. Here’s what’s scariest: Trump only needed 5% or less of our vote to win and he got it. In the eyes of those who are in his administration and want revenge, this means they don’t have to serve or govern in a manner to support issues that plague the Black community.

Latinos turned out in high numbers and voted for Trump. “The only thing that unites us, is the language,” shouted one American Latino at a protest. Even though many thought Trump’s language was damaging to his own campaign, threats to deport millions of illegal immigrants did not sway the Latino vote to significantly oppose him.
This shows us how much farther we have to go with learning the true reasons people voted for Trump. We will have to be ever present in our government in order to fight the legislation and all the issues that will come against us. In the first White House Press conference since Trump’s election, President Obama said on Monday, “Campaigning is different from governing and I think he (Donald Trump) recognizes that.”

Obama said his job is to make sure he has The White House in the best possible shape before he hands it off to Trump and his team. After the President’s Press Conference, he joined supporters, activists and campaign workers on a conference all and talked a bit more about Donald Trump.

“He successfully mobilized a big chunk of the country to vote for him and he’s going to win; he won,” he said.

President Obama continued and said he told his team, “You’re allowed to mope for a week and a half, maybe two if you really need it.” Fighting day-in and day-out for our ideals, building relationships, focusing on down-ballot races like Senate and House of Representatives seats, recruiting, training candidates are all things the President said we need to do. “We gotta train new voters, we gotta train volunteers,” he said.

“I’m going to be a private citizen and I’m not going to stop,” Obama added. The President assured those on the call he was in the fight for the long haul saying, “I’m sure we are going to be working shoulder to shoulder for many, many years to come.”

I must say though, when I saw how humble Trump looked when he met President Obama, I was oddly relieved. In a CBS interview on Sunday night, Trump humbly said, “I’ve had a lot but I’ve never had this much,” referring to what was around him in The White House.

I was happy he wasn’t power-tripping and he seemed differently than he was on the campaign trail. My concerns are those who are advising him. They can easily set him up to fail or push an agenda on people of color, the LGBTQ community, women, Native Americans, any group of people they wish to harm. Before we do anything rash, I think we owe it to the person elected by this country and its process to give him a chance. And, just as Dave Chappelle said on SNL, we demand he give us a chance, too.