Friday, March 4, 2011

"I realized my participation deserved more than just waving a sign"

Is it just me or does anyone else find it totally lame and completely irritating that the news story coming out of Utah these days and making into national headlines is the fact that a college basketball player has violated the honor code and NOT that Tim DeChristopher will be going to prison for making a peaceful demonstration of civil disobedience against the Gas and Oil companies buying our wilderness land? Really? REALLY? I find it infuriating.
I went to BYU and I think that story is alright, it's a chance to show the world that people still have morals and that there's a school that treats everyone equally regardless of their elite status or the benefits they bring to the school. I agree with the decision, but I also think, as far as Davies is concerned it's sort of a private matter. He did something wrong, from the seriousness of his punishment possibly very wrong, and if I were him I'd sort of wish everyone would stop talking about it.
DeChristopher however did something right and no one cares. He's making a huge sacrifice. He's willingly giving up years of his freedom to make a statement about something he believes in. A statement that needed to be made and he did it in a perfectly acceptable way. He did not commit some violent crime of anarchy. He did not hurt anyone. He brought something to the attention of the people and I feel like no one is paying attention. He had the opportunity to plead to lesser charges, not go to trial, and maintain his freedom but he chose not to because he didn't want to back down from the statement he believed needed to be made. He didn't want to let the oil and gas companies intimidate him and win. He's not getting kicked off the basketball team for a season, he's going to prison! People complain and complain about the atrocities committed by these big oil corporations and yet when one of us makes an attempt to stand up against them and open a door for protest and change…we instead discuss who was the best dressed at the Oscars, Charlie Sheen, and BYU students breaking the honor code.
America is great and I love it, but I also think there's a lot of things wrong with it. I believe most people would agree with that. There's stuff wrong with every country, but whereas many countries major problems seem to stem from corrupt governments, I'm starting to believe our corrupt government stems from a corrupt people. Corrupt in the fact that we just don't care anymore. We don't care about what matters. Other countries hate us and give us this spoiled brat stereotype and I honestly think we deserve it. What happened to us? When Rosa Parks broke the law by sitting in the front of the bus she was making a much needed statement in the most appropriate way possible. Peaceful civil disobedience. She was breaking the law, but a law that everyone later realized was wrong. Our history is filled with examples of this, they are the Boston Tea Parties that go down in history as heroes that spurred change and gave hope and inspiration to their fellow wronged citizens to also stand up for what they believe in and for what is right. I believe in Tim DeChristopher's actions and I want to say something cliché like he is ahead of his time or something equally lame and unfitting, but I don't believe he is ahead of his time. Sadly I think perhaps he's behind the times. He's acting like our founding fathers would have acted and we have forgotten how to follow people like that. Tim DeChristopher is brave. I believe he is a martyr in many ways. It takes a lot of courage to do something like he is, trying to be the first in the hopes that others will follow behind you. I want him to be the beginning of change, an uprising of the public, the start of a revolution for a better world. I want the people to see the beauty and importance of wilderness and pay attention to what companies are doing to it behind our backs. I want us to stop sitting on our butts complaining about them but never trying to stop them. I want us to recognize a hero when we see one. When I first posted a comment on my facebook page about this my sister replied with this Edward Abbey statement which is just one of hundreds of his that could be used for a story like this.

"At some point we must draw a line across the ground of our home and our being, drive a spear into the land and say to the bulldozers, earth movers, governments and corporations, “thus far and no further.” If we do not, we shall later feel, instead of pride, the regret of Thoreau, that good but overly-bookish man, who wrote, near the end of his life, “If I repent of anything it is likely to be my good behavior.”

Unfortunately I believe that whereas Thoreau's behavior was proper and good, ours is just laziness. I want to have hope in the American people, myself included. I want to believe we will continue with what DeChristopher has done. I hope someday I look back at this as the start of something big, but I'm having a hard time maintaining that hope. I don't believe America lacks the right leaders, I believe we lack the right followers.

Read more here and here.

1 comment:

Kearl said...

Am I allowed to respectfully disagree without you hating me? I don't like what DeChristopher did and don't think the media should give him any play. I think there are better ways to prove your point and make a difference than what he did. His move just landed him in jail, but won't ultimately change a thing. I don't see breaking the law as a good way to show that you care about something. Sorry...