Thursday, September 12, 2013
It started on April 4. Becky Gillette did a story on property owners in Carroll County receiving notices from SWEPCO about their land being used for a $117M power line that would stretch 48 miles, detonating smack dab through the middle of where we live.
Sucked the life out of us, it did. We were told that 800 (might as well be 8,000,000) acres would be impacted. We were told we had until May 2 to complain.
People in town picked up the paper, read the story, and tossed it back on the table into a puddle of coffee with cream and sugar. A newspaper with such bad news might as well be used to sop up the spillage of a morning’s java jolt.
It took a few minutes for people to gather their thoughts and organize them into rage and rebellion. Coffee cups were refilled, conversation restarted, brain cells reactivated. This community became a unified resister to what the Occupy movement had started – defy those who beat you up and insist you pay for it. Resist those who have the manners of a hungry stallion. Violate plans that call for disturbing your way of life.
Thomas Jefferson wrote that when injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty. People believed it. People acted on it. They were unprepared, uneducated in the ways of public utility companies, inexperienced in rolling in the deep with corporate America, and willing to rearrange their schedules to combat this idea, these companies. They knew if they waited for help it would not come.
So. Since that April 4 story there have been articles, letters, observations and opinions on how this corner of forgotten feels about people who don’t live here deciding what’s best for us. There have been more than 5,000 written protests. This one local issue was suddenly on television, in state papers, on blogs, tweeted, Facebooked and ignited into a wild and furious inferno.
People became allies with neighbors they never knew and didn’t particularly want to. They unified themselves by themselves and for themselves, and it was stunning – people stopped feeling defeated and became an avalanche of vigor and brawn. They did research that had nothing to do with their training or interest. They, the people, found out that in order to be effective it was important to anticipate dire results but never accept them.
So. It’s time for a soppy thank you note to every person who has read one sentence or one story and become an ally. It’s time for a tribute to those who are hoping and wishing and assuming justice will prevail even if they feel they have done little.
It’s interesting that there has really been no internal strife, no people saying, “Well, I don’t know, I kinda like the idea of my land being commandeered by strangers so I won’t have to be responsible for mowing so much.” No one has said, “I hope they plant these unhappy steel swellings up and down our land so we can lose quality of life and property values all at once.”
The people who have been on the front lines of this strife have put their own time and money on the table. People who have sat in the bleachers have put their own hesitance and thought into this. We all care and we all know it. The tadpoles and creeks and rocks and unborn care that life is being protected best we know how.
Listen. There’s an event, a fundraiser, yes, but a morale raiser even more, this Sunday. Not everyone can be around a lot of people, not everyone wants to be asked questions or hugged or acknowledged or even seen. But this event, at Caribé this Sunday afternoon and evening, is for all who, whether they are a dollar short of a dime or unable to socialize, want to be counted as helping maintain a town, a county, a country and a planet. And here’s the deal – if you donate one dollar, it becomes two dollars. Donations are doubled by anonymous benefactors who don’t want to be around anyone either, but are contributing what they have.
So. Thanks. Everybody.
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