The Call For Liberation
Now that the elections are over we can get back to the business at hand – namely, survival.
A couple of weeks ago, while enjoying the hospitality (or rather, lack thereof) of the Texas penal system (watch video or read this to learn more) I had ample opportunity to think about the coming years. Although at the time a cloud of electoral uncertainty swirled around in my head, it came without doubt that we stand now at a pivotal moment in history.
Seven generations from today there will be a story told. The question is whether that story will flow proudly from the mouths of our many great grandchildren, or be carried through the cold universe from the remnants of a dead planet. Never before have the stakes been so high.
Make no mistake, the future of this country and this world does not and will not fall on the shoulders of any one person – not even the President of the United States.
However this election went for you, your obligation to this country and to future generations stands clear and strong. We must choose to look past the idea that we are victims and passers-by on this planet. We must search our hearts, and our consciousness, to find the path to worldwide emancipation.
George W. Bush did not lie when he spoke of the American “addiction” to oil (although the statement should be expanded to include all extractive energy production). The thing about an addict is that they live in a world of denial. They will lie and steal to feed their obsession. They will cover for the pusher, at all cost. And they will lose sight of, and forsake all that is important to them for the next vial (or barrel) of an illusionary high.
The thing about an addict is, with or without their fix, they will die.
Perhaps few groups of people understand this concept better than those now living along the Gulf of Mexico. For the last century, we have succumbed to the tyranny of the pusher – those who would rather profit from the continuous raping of our future, than to deal with the harsh reality of healthy withdrawal.
And yet even here, like a singly focused meth head, many cannot see the changes needed. The pusher has blinded our eyes to the hundreds, if not thousands, of environmental justice communities in our midst. We refuse to see the disproportionate burden on the young and old who suffer from diseases caused by the lack of clean air and water.
Many do not understand or care for the safety of our workers, those who are the first to die when the possibility of profit outweighs the cost of a funeral.
Most have succumbed to the idea that they, or even their children, are just not worth more than comfort at the trough of servitude to a few profiteering individuals.
And yet, it is history that shows us that these sorts of industries are in fact finite. Like so many models of the past - the fur trade or logging, for example - there is always an end to destruction-based economies. It is this lack of historically-based foresight that often keeps us as no more than co-dependents to a catastrophic compulsion.
Yet, this problem, often localized in Gulf communities, is merely a syringe-laden symptom of a money-backed society. Just like the apocryphal idea that the election of one individual will change everything, the notion that solving the problems of one region or one issue will save the world is delusive.
At this point in human history, it is not about one mountain in Appalachia, one ocean, one species, or one community. People harmed by a greedy industry in Ecuador, are the same as those harmed by a greedy industry on the Gulf Coast, in Appalachia, or in Nigeria – it is about the global collective conscious. That conscious must be expanded, through wide lens thinking and widescreen action.
We must make it known that our most precious resource will not be found in the bowels of the Earth Mother, it cannot be manufactured in a plant or printed on paper. This world’s most precious resource is you. You are worth more than the pusher describes. You are stronger than any victimized narrative. And you need not look farther than your bathroom mirror for the face of hope and change.
It is time for the liberation of our country and people from the ravages of a corrupt system and the devastating concept of a profiteering few.
We must kill the planet-destroying serpent known as the Keystone XL Pipeline.
We must develop a movement that is rooted in love and works to treat the sickness of the addiction through historic, holistic, and encompassing means.
We must, in a single voice, demand an action-based address to global climate change.
We must begin to build an infrastructure in these communities where extractive energy-based economies have their grip, that will alleviate the painful side effects of the coming evolution.
We must tear the fingers of corporate personhood from the stranglehold of the American political system.
We must look hard at our past, and forge a new future.
And above all, we must establish, once and for all, the right of our Mother Earth to live and be kept safe by her first defenders – the indigenous peoples.
Only then have we any hope of breaking the chains of the dealer, and learn to live healthy and free again. Only then will story of the seventh generation be told.
It is time for liberation, and it is time for you to accept your role as The Liberator.
Cherri Foytlin is a journalist, mother of six and wife of an oil worker, who lives in south Louisiana. She is the author of "Spill It! The Truth About the Deep Water Oil Rig Explosion," and regularly contributes to www.BridgeTheGulfProject.org, The Huffington Post, and several local newspapers. In the Spring of 2011 she walked to Washington D.C. from New Orleans (1,243 miles) to call for action to stop the BP Drilling Disaster, and has been a constant voice speaking out for the health and ecosystem of Gulf Coast communities, in countless forms of media. As founder of "28 Stones," - a Gulf based media project which focuses on national movement building through art, photography, video and written word - she is working to, "help build the foundation for a cooperative and unified amplification of voices and needs, particularly of Gulf Coast communities, across the nation and globe."