John Andrist: Dakota Access Protests Are a Waste


Protesters demonstrate against the Energy Transfer Partners' Dakota Access oil pipeline near the Standing Rock Sioux reservation in Cannon Ball, North Dakota. REUTERS/Andrew Cullen

Now we have three nutty candidates running for president.

Green party candidate Jill Stein has been arrested for spray painting graffiti on construction equipment, located on private property near the pipeline protest site south of Mandan.

Who is she? She is a 66-year-old, Jewish-born and educated, self-proclaimed agnostic from Massachusetts. She graduated magna cum Laude from Harvard before she went to medical school.

In her only election victory she got a few hundred votes in a run for a town council post in Massachusetts.

She has been arrested three times in connection with protests, in Philadelphia, Texas and now North Dakota.

I can admire her passion, but have great difficulty understanding why she feels her viewpoint can justify destroying the property of people who disagree with her.

Yet there are hundreds, perhaps thousands of folks from far away who have decided for whatever reason that they are ordained to go to North Dakota and use force to tell others how to frame their lives.

Our First Amendment protects the right to protest, but includes the word “peaceably”.

[mks_pullquote align=”left” width=”300″ size=”24″ bg_color=”#ffffff” txt_color=”#000000″]Our First Amendment protects the right to protest, but includes the word “peaceably”.[/mks_pullquote]

I can empathize with the Native American protest, which has apparently been mostly peaceful. But I can’t understand it.

First it was to protect water supply on the reservation. That was deflated with the revelation that the reservation water supply intake will be almost 50 miles away. Then it became concern about destruction of sacred sites.

But the State Historic Preservation committee revealed in February that it had studied the route and issued a finding that “no significant sites would be affected”.

Interestingly, it is almost the identical corridor used for a gas pipeline that evoked no protest.

Is there a conspiracy to beat up on the Native American community? It seems like a long stretch and it is costing all of us a lot of wasted money for Morton County, the state, and law enforcement in general.

Between dreaming and reality

Are you following your passion? Or are you just trying to make a living?

It’s another point to ponder. Our forbearers came and settled this place, not out of a passion to do it so much as they were seeking a way to survive.

But as things have gotten better most of us have decided it is more worthy to follow our dreams.

Thankfully, many of us have been able to do both, and many more have grown their own passion from a world of work.

A columnist from Connecticut recently authored a provocative piece, “Forget passion: Get a job”.

She thinks we should stop telling young people to find their passion and start telling them to find a job.

“We do a disservice to our young people when we encourage them to believe that the world will reward them financially for something it didn’t ask for and doesn’t want”, she said, adding, “We’ve been telling them since they were toddlers to follow their own paths. Of course, they believed it. That these paths often lead to the couch, the mall, and the nurse’s office seems not to deter them”.

Perhaps I was just lucky. I began working in my dad’s newspaper when I was a pup. I needed to make money, because my greatest desire in life as a 20-year old was to marry the woman who had become the center of my existence, and I first had to find a way to support her.

But in the process I discovered my passion, and was able to refine it in newspaper and community leadership roles, and later on in law making work.

One of my closest friends had the same journey. Del Ekness grew up in a country meat market, started his own, and through a series of strategic moves managed to grow his passion and build Crosby’s finest super market.

Shortly after that he told me when we were visiting one day, “You know John, when I get up in the morning, I’m excited to get to work!”

Sadly, cancer took his life at the zenith of his achievement.

But I’ve always felt worthwhile passion begins with finding a job. And it makes me sad to see so many who dislike their job and mostly spend their days looking forward to retirement.