Standing Rock is the big news not Colin KaepernickBaltimore Post-Examiner

Standing Rock is the big news, not Colin Kaepernick

The big news — BIG NEWS! — is of course 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick not standing for the national anthem before games. Wow, that’s such an important issue … you know, he hasn’t insulted me by not standing and I’m a veteran. A lot of other veterans feel the same way.

John Garcia, Sr. on Twitter

John Garcia, Sr. on Twitter

There’s a hashtag trending on Twitter that says #veteransforkapernick. One Marine tweeted, “Gave 4yrs of my life to the Marine Corps. You don’t pick & choose the rights you defend.”A woman sailor tweeted, “This man using his privilege -exercising right to peacefully protest = exactly why I served.”
“I serve to protect your freedoms, not a song.”
“Free speech is free speech all the time.”
“I don’t agree with all his points, but I’ll fight to the death for his right to say it.”

The quotes could go on, from men and women, black, white, Asian, etc. hundreds, probably thousands, of veterans on Twitter expressing their support for Kaepernick’s right to express himself — freely. Anyone with a Twitter account can spend some time reading them all.

The flipside of course is the NFL, or the San Francisco 49ers, can decide football games are not the place for players to voice their opinions on social issues and ban Kaepernick from doing so. The First Amendment gives us the right to say what’s on our minds, but private organizations are not required to give us a platform to do it.

But it’s unlikely the league or the team will do anything to stop Kaepernick from engaging in his protest, there’s really nothing it does to the game itself. Once the anthem is over the teams get at it and after watching the preseason game in San Diego between the Niners and Chargers it’s pretty clear Kaepernick enjoys a good relationship with his team, despite losing his starting spot to Blaine Gabbert after a season-ending surgery last season.

He looked sharp against the Bolts and the Niners mounted a comeback to beat the Chargers, who looked like they had the game in the bag halfway through the third quarter. That’s when I fell asleep … woke up to see San Francisco celebrating — Colin Kaepernick in the middle of it — with a final score of 31-21, Niners.

Just my opinion: the bigger issue here is: WTF CHARGERS?

Colin Kaepernick (YouTube)

Colin Kaepernick (YouTube)

San Diegans haven’t forgotten last season, and you want a stadium downtown near Petco Park and the Convention Center. You better give San Diegans a reason to vote “Yes” on Prop C.

Here’s an even bigger issue, or dare I say a real issue — as in this Kaepernick thing is not that big of a deal in comparison to what else is going on — but this is something that is affecting millions of Americans up and down the Midwest and possibly the rest of the nation.

  • What Kaepernick is speaking out about is a real issue of course. The uproar over the quarterback is just a distraction from that issue. Kaepernick has pledged to donate $1 million to organizations that help people affected by racial injustice and police brutality.

A subsidiary of Energy Transfer Partners has proposed building an oil pipeline, the Dakota Access Pipeline, from northwestern North Dakota to Southern Illinois. It would cross both Dakotas, Iowa and Southern Illinois, as well as the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers.

It would go under ground, under the rivers and streams, as the oil moved from North Dakota to Illinois.

As it turns out members of the Standing Rock Sioux Tribe have led a protest against the pipeline, citing the fact that oil pipelines do break and contaminate the ground and water near the rupture. And because this pipeline will cross under two of America’s major rivers, a pipeline break has the potential to render undrinkable the major sources of drinking water for tens of millions of Americans.

Not to mention the damage toxic chemicals would have on plant life and wildlife.

Millions of Americans will be effected by a four-state oil pipeline. Millions of people who rely on the Missouri and Mississippi Rivers and their tributaries.

So the Sioux Nation, not just the Standing Rock Sioux, but tribes from around America joined in this protest, blocking the pipeline stating their treaty rights would be violated by this pipeline. The Cheyenne River Lakota and the Rosebud Sioux, the Ojibwa, The Arapaho, the Seneca and many others.

And the interesting thing about this protest is it didn’t just start last week or last month. This has been going on since April. The Sioux nation has been holding back the construction of this pipeline all this time, with leaders like tribal chief David Archambault II being arrested — and little, if anything, has made it into the mainstream media.

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II (YouTube)

Standing Rock Tribal Chairman David Archambault II
(YouTube)

Not only is there a big chance the pipeline could pollute the water and damage the land, it crosses under sacred sites and burial grounds of the Sioux Nation. The pipeline company would have to dig in these sites to place the pipe in the ground. It would be the same as tearing up Vatican City to put a pipeline under ground.

The developer of the Dakota Access Pipeline has taken out restraining orders against the protestors, claiming it has an obligation to protect its employees. Fair enough, but the protestors weren’t causing any violence so the restraining orders were superfluous at best.

On the flip side: in August the Standing Rock Sioux filed for an injunction in the Washington, D.C. federal court, but as of yet a decision hasn’t been made.

After the Keystone Pipeline was axed last year the media turned its attention to the elections, in particular Donald Trump. The clown who is bringing down the Republican Party is soaking up all the media attention, with his racist and ridiculous statements and most recently, his embarrassing meeting with Mexico’s President Enrique Peña Nieto.

Covering the 2016 elections is important — I have been writing about it. But this protest by the Sioux Nation, this is big as well. There hasn’t been an Environmental Impact Study done on the project yet it received approval from the Army Corps of Engineers. The Standing Rock Sioux weren’t consulted even though the pipeline will come within a half mile of the Standing Rock Reservation. Once again Native Americans are demanding the federal government honor the treaties it forced the indigenous people to sign so many years ago. The U.S. has a long history of breaking treaties with Native American people and the men and women of the Standing Rock Sioux are going to do whatever it takes to force the government to honor theirs by stopping the Dakota Access Pipeline.

The one thing the Sioux — and everyone else with a brain — knows is that oil pipelines break. It happened here in Santa Barbara, in May of last year. Over 143,000 gallons of crude oil were spilled onto the beaches and into the Pacific Ocean.

The Oiled Wildlife Care Network of UC-Davis, which was involved in the recovery, said 204 birds and 106 marine mammals died because of the oil spill.

Governor Jerry Brown has made the pipeline laws tougher and the operators of the pipeline — and one employee — have been criminally charged as a result.

If it can happen on the California coast, it can happen in the plains states.

One of these days the mainstream media is going to pick up this story. In the meantime, we have to rely on the alternative — and progressive — media to keep us informed.

Top photo is a screenshot from YouTube.


About the author

Tim Forkes

Tim Forkes started as a writer on a small alternative college newspaper in Milwaukee called the Crazy Shepherd. Writing about entertainment issues, he had the opportunity to speak with many people in show business, from the very famous to the people struggling to find an audience. In 1992 Tim moved to San Diego, CA and pursued other interests, but remained a freelance writer. Upon arrival in Southern California he was struck by how the business of government and business was so intertwined, far more so than he had witnessed in Wisconsin. His interest in entertainment began to wane and the business of politics took its place. He had always been interested in politics, his mother had been a Democratic Party official in Milwaukee, WI, so he sat down to dinner with many of Wisconsin’s greatest political names of the 20th Century: William Proxmire and Clem Zablocki chief among them. As a Marine Corps veteran, Tim has a great interest in veteran affairs, primarily as they relate to the men and women serving and their families. As far as Tim is concerned, the military-industrial complex has enough support. How the men and women who serve are treated is reprehensible, while in the military and especially once they become veterans. Tim would like to help change that reality. Contact the author.
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