By Alec Carmichael
I Digress 

The Power of Protest

 


I am not going to lie. I truly do feel the Army Corps of Engineers’ decision to deny an easement for the DAPL under Lake Oahe in North Dakota was a true win for all Americans. Why do I believe this? First of all, people have the right to peacefully assemble to influence their government. With the knowledge that some are going to be rowdy and unruly as others peacefully protest, I think this was a good example of mass protests handled in a mostly-respectable way, all things considered. At the very least, it didn’t end in a shootout with State Troopers, a mass revolt, or a large conflict with law enforcement, but I digress.

Secondly, I do tend to believe that the route was chosen as a result of the demographics involved. I am sure many of you are rolling your eyes, but as I pointed out last week Bismarck was cause enough for concern, but Standing Rock was not. Also if the routes were discerned by anyone with no knowledge of the pipeline they may wonder, ‘why does it go under the second largest waterway in the United States at all; let alone twice?’ This is what I wondered as well. If the pipeline doesn’t have to run under the water at all to reach its destination then why does it?


The only answer I could come up with, through my own analysis, was political convenience and demographics. That is to say, in my opinion, that the people most affected didn’t have the money nor the political clout to stop it. Today, however, that has changed, and I am relieved that a movement of people still has the power to influence their government without being a massive donor or large block of voters, but just by being consistent and determined to cause change they truly believe in.

We all genuinely should be grateful. No matter your view, this is a good thing. The pipeline will get another route and the protesters will return home safe and alive. The company may lose some money, which is a risk they took when they began the project without an easement. We, the people, will continue to be assured that our First Amendment rights are solid and available when we need them. Just as your Second Amendment rights are secure when you claim to need them, so too is your right to assemble and be heard by your government peacefully. That makes this a victory for all, and we should all be thankful the result was in favor of those seeking change with what power they had.

 

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