I find myself in one-on-one face-to-face conversations about the Enbridge pipeline expansion more often lately. One comes to mind from my son's baseball game a few weeks back. I get done explaining all of the horrors to the guy about the project. There's no place for him to go rationally except to say, "I'm against it. Sign me up!"
But he finds a way around it. "I used fossil fuels to get here," he says "so what can I say?" A long silence. We exchange parting remarks, then he moves on to talk with other community members and get as far away from me as possible. I wonder if I smell funny. Maybe have a booger hanging from my nose. Show signs of lepresy.
Here's what I wish I would've said after his paralyzing proclamation of powerlessness: "Who cares if you used fossil fuels to get here. You didn't set this system up. You didn't make us totally dependent on fossil fuels. Why do you need to take responsibility for what is not yours? Just because you drive a car that gives them right to bury this thing under every major watershed in Wisconsin and Washburn County? What about the right to our health, safety, and welfare? What about our inherent and inalieble right to self-government that's been granted to us in every major governing document?"
They have outposts in our heads.